The Brooklyn Nets are still covered in controversy regarding Kyrie Irving and his stance on not getting vaccinated to combat COVID-19.
According to ESPN, the NBA fined the Eastern Conference team $50,000 on Monday (March 14) after they allowed the star guard into the team locker room during a game. New York’s state mandate, imposed by Mayor Eric Adams, still prohibits Irving from playing in home games. However, fans are not required to be vaccinated before entering the Barclays Center.
Irving, 29, sat on the Nets bench Sunday at the Barclays Center as his team won against the New York Knicks in a 110-107 landslide. Following the end of the game, the franchise player walked alongside his teammate, Kevin Durant.
The star player attended the ACC Tournament championship game (March 12) which was also hosted at the arena. His alma mater, Duke, went up against Virginia Tech losing in the 82-67 match-up.
In a statement released on Monday (March 14), the league said that the Nets went against New York City’s law and safety decree enforced by the league, allowing Irving access to the team locker room. Anyone working at the arena is still required to be immunized but because he’s unvaccinated, Irving is unable to play at Barclays or Madison Square Garden.
Durant spoke on the fine saying he respects the city’s ruling but that the ordeal centered around Irving causes “frustration,” according to the Nets statement.
“The last two years have been a difficult and painful time for New Yorkers, as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of the rules and mandates,” Durant said. “I do appreciate the task the Mayor has in front of him with all 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.”