The Brooklyn Nets opened their season without Kyrie Irving on Tuesday night with a loss in Milwaukee, but before the game tipped off, NBA commissioner Adam Silver delivered a message to Irving on the TNT pregame show.
When asked what he’d like to say to Irving personally, Silver encouraged Irving to receive the COVID-19 vaccine that is necessary for him to be eligible to return with the Nets, and argued that if Irving plans to be an “engaged member of society,” he needs to be vaccinated.
“I’d tell him to get vaccinated, first and foremost for himself and his family. Next, for his teammates and his community and also for the league that I know he cares so much about.
“I understand that it’s not just Kyrie, there are people in this country who disagree with the notion of getting vaccinated,” Silver continued. “But at least from everything that I understand, science is firmly on the side of getting vaccinated, and in essence this is a miracle vaccine. Think where we were, Ernie, when we first stopped the season… and then we went into the bubble and we started last season, and then this vaccine came along and it’s already saved tens of millions of lives.
And I think at some point for Kyrie to be an engaged member of society – putting aside this league – he needs to get vaccinated. And, you said, that’s the law in New York. And the law in New York is if you want to play in an arena, if you want to visit an arena, if you want to participate in an activity in an arena, you need to be vaccinated.”
According to a recent report, Irving may not be opposed to “the notion of getting vaccinated,” but rather the mandate that is keeping him out of work. In a broadcast on Instagram, Irving said last week that he had been promised a vaccine exemption prior to the start of the season, and expected to be able to play despite the local laws in New York.
This post originally appeared on Nets Wire.