Nets' Irving returns as leagues ease toward unvaccinated athletes
 
 
 
 
 
 
NBA

Nets’ Irving returns as leagues ease toward unvaccinated athletes

/ 05:38 AM January 06, 2022

Kyrie Irving, who had been barred from playing for the Brooklyn Nets this season after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, will suit up for the team late on Wednesday in what critics say is the latest example of sports leagues giving in to their unvaccinated star players.

The Nets said before the season that Irving could not play with the team until he was vaccinated, proof of which is required to attend games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

ADVERTISEMENT

The seven-time All-Star will make his season debut in Indiana and will in essence be a part-time player for the championship contenders as he is unable to compete in home games.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was fined this season for flouting COVID-19 protocols and suggesting he was vaccinated prior to contracting the virus.

FEATURED STORIES

He was fined $14,650 but not suspended and is the frontrunner to win his fourth MVP award for the 13-3 Packers, who are the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the second consecutive year.

On Wednesday, he called an NFL-award voter “a bum” for saying he would not vote for Rodgers based on his character and off-field issues.

World number one Novak Djokovic, who has voiced doubts about the vaccine, was handed a medical exemption to defend his title at this month’s Australian Open, which prompted a backlash in the country, which has endured the world’s longest cumulative lockdown.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Wednesday he was denied entry into the country after touching down at a Melbourne airport when his visa was revoked.

“This is a total abdication of responsibility on the part of the leadership of all of the men’s professional sports out there,” said Victor Matheson, a professor at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and an expert on sports economics.

“It’s a total lack of leadership and quite frankly, I think it’s appalling.

“This is something that impacts, that endangers the safety of other players, both on their teams and other teams, and the leagues do nothing about it.”

Djokovic being denied entry into Australia means the Australian Open will take a huge reputational hit while not even getting the player they wanted, he said.

“Talk about an unforced error,” he said.

Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing analyst at U.S.-based Pinnacle Advertising, said it is all about the money that comes with winning.

“The Packers can’t get to the Super Bowl without Rodgers. Djokovic is the biggest draw in men’s tennis. And while the Nets are winning without Kyrie, they badly need his minutes with Kevin Durant pulling a much-too-heavy load,” he said.

“It probably also helps that while Omicron is running rampant, the severity of cases and numbers of deaths seems to be dropping.

“Winning can’t cure COVID, but it sure makes it healthier for anti-vaxxers.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)

Subscribe to our newsletters! Get updates right into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
TAGS: Brooklyn Nets, Covid-19 vaccine mandate, Kyrie Irving
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our newsletters!
Get Updates right into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.




We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.