NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on ESPN’s Get Up that New York City’s vaccination mandate that prevents the Nets point guard, Kyrie Irvingplay in local games “doesn’t make much sense to me”.
As a player not vaccinated against COVID-19, Irving is not allowed to play at Barclays Center by mandate. However, a player from a different market who is not vaccinated can play in New York City.
“This law in New York, the strange thing to me is that it only applies to local players,” Silver said during an appearance on ESPN Wednesday morning. “I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting the people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that a visiting player who isn’t vaccinated can play at Barclays, but the home player can’t. To me, that’s one reason why they should take a look at that ordinance.”
Silver said the league wanted to make vaccinations a requirement for players, but the NBPA rejected that. Even so, he mentioned that between 97 and 98% of the players are vaccinated and that the “vast majority” received boosters.
With the NBA offices in New York City, Silver has seen firsthand that some of the mask restrictions have been lifted and mentioned that there is a “feeling” in the city and that there are more people out on the move.
“So while my personal opinion is that people should get vaccinated and booster shots, I can imagine a scenario where Brooklyn, as part of New York City, with a new mayor now that wasn’t there before, Eric Adams, when the original ordinance was passed and implemented, I can see him deciding to change down the road and say there is no longer a need to have a mandatory vaccination requirement, as I said, particularly one that only affects local players,” Silver said.
Last Saturday, while speaking to reporters in Miami, Irving expressed his hope that the mandate will be rescinded and have permission to play in home games.
“I’m living my life to the best of my ability, just like everyone else who’s missed these last two years. I didn’t have a plan in place while all of this was going on. The NBA and NBPA made it very clear that there would be things I could do to fix it.” this. And that’s off the table. So tell me if I’m alone here or if I have the support of everyone else who’s dealing with the same thing,” Irving said.
Irving’s comments came two days after the change he sent to james harden from the Nets to Philadelphia and led Ben Simmons to Brooklyn in a trade that manifested itself publicly in terms of player trade demands.
Silver said he hopes situations like this don’t play out in public, but acknowledged that situations like this will happen.
“Ideally, when players want to be traded or teams are preparing to make moves, those are confidential conversations with players, confidential with other teams,” Silver said. “Obviously, in this case, it wasn’t just playing out publicly, it’s been playing out like this since the season started, particularly in Philadelphia.”
When asked what the data showed about the impact the superstar movement has on NBA fans, Silver said views have changed over the years.
“I remember the standard David Stern kind of mantra was that I said Larry and you said Boston, you said Magic, you said Michael and you said Bulls, but that was a different era,” Silver said. “Now what we’re seeing in the league, first of all, shorter contracts, which I don’t think is a bad idea because one of the things we tried to do by working with our Players Association for about ten years now was to link performance to pay more closely and I think that’s what you see with the shorter contracts.
And while shorter contracts are something the league has agreed to, there’s something Silver doesn’t want to see.
“So the data shows that superstars moving away isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it allows bad situations to change in an orderly way,” Silver said. “It gives teams that may not be in a competitive position hope that they can sign one of those players, but shorter contracts to me are a very different thing and free agents moving to the end of contracts is a different thing. from what we just saw where you have players actively looking to move while they’re under contract. The data is clear on that. That’s not good for the league.”
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Silver: NY vaccine mandate for Kyrie makes no sense