Irving, who is not immune to Covid-19, is unable to play in home matches due to a workplace vaccine mandate in New York City, but is allowed to attend home matches as a spectator.
Irving was on court in the team’s 110-107 victory over the New York Knicks at Barclays Center in New York, and the National Basketball Association says the Nets have been fined “for violating New York City local law and the league’s health and safety protocols.”
According to Mallika Andrews of ESPN, Irving purchased the stadium seats.
In a statement Monday, Nets star Kevin Durant expressed appreciation for the efforts of New York Mayor Eric Adams after criticizing him and the city’s vaccination mandate on Sunday.
“The past two years have been a difficult and traumatic time for New Yorkers, as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of rules and mandates,” the statement read.
“I appreciate the job the mayor has put in front of him with all that the city has been through. My frustration with the situation doesn’t change the fact that I will always be committed to helping the communities and cities I live in, and play in.”
Durant previously said he did not “get” the current mandate and said “it looks like someone is trying to make a statement or a point to display their authority.”
“But everyone here is looking for attention, and that’s what I feel the mayor wants right now is some interest,” Durant added. “He’ll find out soon. It’s better.”
“Quit it immediately”
On March 7, Adams raised the city’s requirements to show evidence of vaccination for indoor activities. However, a mandate that requires all workers who perform personal work or interact with the public to provide proof that they have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine prevents Irving from playing.
In a public appearance earlier on Sunday, some teasers asked Adams about Irving’s inability to play. Adams replied, “Listen. You’re right. You can play Kerry tomorrow. Get vaccinated.”
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, a former teammate of Irving, responded to the situation on social media saying it was “absolutely meaningless”, the Nets goalkeeper was able to attend the game as a fan but did not join the team as a player.
On Saturday, the former Duke guard sat on the courtside to watch the Blue Devils play Virginia Tech in the ACC Championships at Barclays Center.
NBPA Executive Director Tamica Trimaglio has criticized the city state on social media and called for it to be ended immediately.
“The unreasonable law that characterizes our players in New York City is fundamentally unjust,” Trimaglio wrote. “Under this current rule, out-of-town athletes can come into town and not be vaccinated, and fans can enter both Barclays Center and MSG regardless of their vaccination status.
“However, New York City athletes must be vaccinated to compete in their home yards. If this rule is about protecting people, it doesn’t make sense and New York City needs to end it immediately.”
With the city’s mandate still in place, Irving will not be able to play in 10 of the team’s last 14 games.