Brooklyn Nets legend Kyrie Irving’s probation appears to be coming to an end as New York City Mayor Eric Adams provided an exemption for NYC athletes and performers from the city worker’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate Thursday.
The strict COVID-19 policy has stopped Irving from playing home games and led to a $50,000 fine for the Nets by the National Basketball Association (NBA) after Irving stepped into the team’s locker room during halftime at a game in the Barclay’s Center earlier in March. The Nets were fined by the NBA for breaching “local New York City law and league health and safety protocols.”
Irving, a seven-time All-Star guard, chose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and has subsequently missed 35 home games since the start of the NBA season in October 2021, CNN reported. He will now be allowed to play the final six home games of the season, the outlet continued.
The decision by Adams comes a day after Irving’s 30th birthday, according to NPR. Twitter was flooded with birthday wishes and videos showing Irving’s incredible skill set. (RELATED: The Nets Won’t Allow Kyrie Irving To Participate At All Until He’s Vaccinated)
One of the most skilled players ever!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 23, 2022
Surrounded by executives from the Mets and Yankees at Citi Field, Adams told reporters that he had signed the COVID-19 vaccination exemption and that the policy was effective immediately, according to the New York Post. However, the shift in policy is only applicable to athletes and performers, and not to the New York City’s Police Department, Fire Department and a wealth of other municipal workers, the Post continued.
“If the mandate isn’t necessary for famous people, then it’s not necessary for the cops who are protecting our city in the middle of a crime crisis,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, said, according to CNN, “While celebrities were in lockdown, New York City police officers were on the street throughout the pandemic, working without adequate PPE and in many cases contracting and recovering from Covid themselves. They don’t deserve to be treated like second-class citizens now,” he continued on Twitter.
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) March 24, 2022
Adams has no intention of rehiring the more than 1,400 city employees forced into joblessness by the vaccine mandates, according to the Post. “There can’t be one system for the elite and another for the essential workers of our city,” Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association and chair of the Municipal Labor Committee, stated, the outlet continued. “There should be a re-entry program for workers to get their jobs back.”