Kyrie Irving refuses to get vaccinated, and the Nets are conceding he won’t play in home games in a stunning turn of events

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  • Kyrie Irving can’t play in Brooklyn Nets home games because he hasn’t gotten a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Nets head coach Steve Nash said Irving would miss home games because the issue was unresolved.
  • The unusual situation throws Irving’s and the Nets’ future into question.

The Brooklyn Nets appear to be coming to terms with the idea that Kyrie Irving won’t play home games this season because he hasn’t received a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Because of New York City’s vaccine mandates, Irving isn’t allowed to play in home games. San Francisco and Los Angeles are the only other cities with similar rules.

“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,” Nash said, the New York Post reported. “We’re going to have to, for sure, play without him this year, so it just depends on when, where, and how much.”

It was the first public admission from the team that Irving’s situation may not be resolved when the regular season begins.

It was first disclosed that Irving wasn’t vaccinated when he wasn’t available for the Nets’ media day. He was the only player on the roster not present. When asked about his vaccination status, Irving repeatedly requested privacy over his decision.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 76% of the US population over age 12 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people, the CDC found.

Last week, New York City said the Nets’ practice facility, the HSS Training Center, is a private business and not subject to vaccine mandates, which allows Irving to join the team for practice. But he still can’t play in Barclays Center.

The Nets have been outwardly supportive of Irving, maintaining hope that Irving would eventually join them full time. But in recent days, it’s sounded as though members of the team have grown more frustrated with Irving’s part-time role.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst reported last week that the Nets’ hopes that Irving would get vaccinated were “waning,” despite attempts to educate him on the issue. ESPN also reported that the franchise was getting less patient with Irving’s partial commitment and was unsure whether it would accommodate him being with the team for only half the season.

Irving’s superstar teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden have also publicly expressed hope that Irving would commit to the team.

“At least he can practice,” Kevin Durant told reporters on Friday, ESPN reported. “But we want him here for the whole thing. We want him for games, home games, practices, away games, shootarounds, all of it. So hopefully, we can figure this thing out.”

James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant high-five during a game.
The Nets’ “Big Three” make the team championship favorites. Jeff Chiu/AP Images

James Harden told reporters that he’d leave it to Irving and the Nets’ front office to chart a course forward, but he added, “I want him to be on the team.”

It’s a stunning turn of events that throws Irving’s and the Nets’ future into immediate question.

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