Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has made it very clear that the team’s decision to keep Kyrie Irving off the court is strictly business.
Tsai hopes that Irving “gets vaccinated as soon as possible,” but is currently unsure about that possibility. As long as New York continues to have a vaccine mandate, the star point guard will be unable to join the team as an unvaccinated player.
“I don’t know,” Tsai said in a recent interview with ESPN when asked when he thinks Irving will play again. “Either he has to be vaccinated in order to come back if the New York mandate is still in place. And don’t ask me when they may or may not change the New York mandate. Again, if you ask the people that are making decisions at the city level, they are going to say we are going to rely on science, rely on what the health department tells us [in order to proceed].”
Earlier this month, Irving, who would only be allowed to play in out-of-state away games as an unvaccinated player, was informed by the Nets organization that he would be unable to join the team until he get vaccinated or the mandate changes.
Tsai says he’s not spoken to Irving since that initial decision.
“Last time [I] talked to him was when we made the decision that he was not going to be playing until something changes,” the team owner said. “We haven’t communicated since then.”
Tsai added that there was nothing personal to this decision.
“Obviously Kyrie has his own belief so I respect that. But we have to make a team decision. This is not a decision about him. This is a decision about where we go as a team,” he said. “And it is just not tenable for us to have a team with a player that comes in and out, no home games, only away games. What do you do in practice then?”
Without Irving, the Nets are off to a 2-3 start to the season.
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