Sports | September 27, 2021 1:43 pm

It Seems Kyrie Irving’s Anti-Vax Status Is Going to Be a Big Problem for the Nets

Irving was not present for Brooklyn's media day on Monday due to New York City’s health and safety protocols

Kyrie Irving reacts to a taunting Boston Celtics fan
Kyrie Irving reacts to a taunting Boston Celtics fan during the 2021 NBA playoffs.
Steven Ryan/Getty

A year after skipping media day to avoid talking to the “pawns” that cover him, Kyrie Irving was once again absent from Nets media day in Brooklyn on Monday, this time due to health and safety protocols, sources told The Athletic.

Irving has reportedly not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and would therefore not be able to take the court in Brooklyn if the season started today thanks to New York City guidelines that bar the unvaccinated from spaces within NYC including “professional sports arenas.”

And, from what people in his circle told Rolling Stone‘s Matt Sullivan for a recent story about distrust of the COVID-19 vaccine within the NBA before the upcoming season, it seems Irving’s vaccination status is going to be an issue for the Nets moving forward.

His aunt, Tyki Irving, called the health protocols “oppressing” and said she hoped there was a way to create some “sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.”

“He is going to try to figure that out as it comes, because it’s not religious-based, it’s moral-based,” she told Rolling Stone before sharing some misinformation about the vaccine’s effectiveness. “You may have to sit on the sideline, you might not have to be in the arena during this. If it’s that freaking important to get a vaccine that, hell, it’s still not preventing the COVID, then I’d rather them working it out that way than to say, ‘Hey, if you don’t get the vaccine, then you can’t be a part of the franchise that you f***in’ helped build.’”

Her 29-year-old nephew, who has liked Instagram posts from an account that claims “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan” according to Rolling Stone, did take questions from the media via Zoom on Monday.

“There’s a lot of questions going on in the world of Kyrie and I’d just like to keep that private,” he said when asked about his vaccination status. “Obviously, I’m not able to be present today but I’m not putting any limits on the future.”

Irving may not be imposing any limits, but the NBA and local health officials in New York, California and hopefully other locales certainly will be unless the star point guard changes his mind and gets vaccinated. Based on what Irving posted on Twitter a few weeks ago, it seems there’s a chance he won’t do it but, then again, he has changed his mind before after making a public statement.

The NBA season tips off on October 19, so the clock is ticking.