NBA commissioner Adam Silver questions NYC vaccine mandate that keeps Kyrie Irving out of home games

Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver questioned New York City’s controversial vaccine mandate that prevents Brooklyn Nets‘ star Kyrie Irving from playing home games.

Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday morning, Silver also speculated that the odd vaccination rule could soon be lifted.

“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players,” Silver said. “I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays, but the home player can’t. To me, that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.”

Irving has been playing exclusively on the road since the Nets reinstated him last month. But on Wednesday night against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Irving will also be ineligible to play.

Silver is hopeful that newly-elected New York City mayor Eric Adams will look at the vaccination mandate after New York governor Kathy Hochul lifted the statewide indoor business mask-or-vaccine requirement, although it will remain optional for businesses, local governments and counties to enforce. Silver saw and felt the vibe changed in recent days with the NBA headquarters based in New York as “more people are out and about.”

“So while, again, my personal view is people should get vaccinated and boosted, I can imagine a scenario where Brooklyn, as part of New York City, with a new mayor now who wasn’t in place, Eric Adams, when that original ordinance was put into place, I could see him deciding to change along the way and say it’s no longer necessary to have a mandatory vaccination requirement, as I said, particularly one that only affects home players,” Silver said.

Recently, Washington D.C. has also lifted its vaccine mandate on indoor events leaving New York and Toronto as the only NBA markets preventing unvaccinated players from playing in their arenas.

Silver’s remarks came on the heels of Irving expressing hopes that New York’s vaccine mandate would be overturned. 

“There’s no guilt that I feel,” Irving told reporters in Miami last Saturday. “I’m the only player that has to deal with this in New York City because I play there. If I were anywhere else in another city, then it probably wouldn’t be the same circumstances. But because I’m there, we have Eric Adams; we have the New York mandate; we have things going on that are real-life circumstances that are not just affecting me, bro. So you ask me these questions, I don’t feel guilt.

“I’m just living my life as best I can, just like everybody else that missed these last two years. I didn’t have a plan in place while all this was going on, didn’t know. The NBA and the NBPA made it very clear that there would be things that I would be able to do to work around this. And that’s off the table. So you tell me if I’m just alone out here or do I have support from everybody else that’s dealing with the same thing?”

The Nets (30-27) are currently in the play-in scenario. They are hopeful they can reverse their fortunes once Irving is allowed to play at home and Kevin Durant returns from injury after the All-Star break. They also await the debut of their newly acquired star Ben Simmons from the James Harden trade with Philadelphia.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Mentioned in this article:

More about: