NBA-Nets say Irving cannot play or practice until eligible as vaccine row escalates

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NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets
FILE PHOTO: Jun 5, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after making a basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of game one in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

October 13, 2021

(Reuters) – Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving will not be allowed to play or practice with the team until he is “eligible to be a full participant”, the NBA franchise said on Tuesday amid the continuing fallout over the guard’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

Irving, who refused to reveal his vaccination status, was forced to sit out the Nets’ first pre-season home game last week against the Milwaukee Bucks as he was listed as “ineligible” by the team.

A New York City mandate requires proof of at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter large indoor spaces such as gyms.

“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” Nets’ general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.

“Kyrie has made a personal choice and we respect his individual right to choose.

“Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”

The Nets begin their regular season on the road with games against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers before their first home game at the Barclays Center against the Charlotte Hornets on Oct. 24.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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