The Brooklyn Nets have received potentially good news regarding Kyrie Irving's status. The point guard came back to the floor last week after missing the big part of the season due to his refusal to take the covid-19 vaccine.
He has played two games with the Nets, visiting the Pacers and Trail Blazers, but now he could be a full-time player for his team if they decide to pay a small fine every time he steps on the Barclays Center floor.
Stefan Bondy of New York Daily News explains that Bill de Blasio's executive order can open the door for the Nets to have Kyrie playing for them in home games.
Let me present the penalties for noncompliance with The Key to NYC, as outlined in Bill de Blasio’s executive order:
First offense: Warning.
Second offense: $1,000 fine.
Third offense: $2,000 fine.
Fourth offense: $5,000 fine.
Fifth offense to infinity offenses: $5,000 fine
Bondy also explains that other cities have taken a similar approach, stating that Kyrie must have been vaccinated for a long time now.
Makes some sense. Not the soundest logic. Other major cities like Boston and L.A. have exempted their NBA players. But sure.
The bigger hypocrisy, at this point, is rooted in the outdated guidelines of the mandate. They were easier to comprehend when the vaccines were first available, but Omicron and a surge in breakthrough cases changed the calculus. For fans and athletes, the vaccine requirement could be fulfilled by proof of a single Johnson & Johnson shot administered many months ago. The effectiveness of such a shot could’ve easily worn off, according to the CDC, which recommends a booster just two months after the first Johnson & Johnson dose.
But the fans in Barclays Center and MSG are mostly unmasked and totaling almost 20,000 breathing faces per game, sipping $18 cups of Heineken Light and chanting “Defense.” Meanwhile, Irving, who just recovered from COVID-19 and is tested daily, can’t get inside the arena.
Who would you feel safer sitting next to? Theoretically, the Nets wouldn’t have to pay much to test that out.
This is big news for the Nets. Doing some quick math, the Nets would disburse $100K in fines every time Kyrie plays, which is nothing for a team with a wealthy owner like Joe Tsai. Kyrie has found ways to get away with this and it seems like he's doing it again. Things have gotten interesting for the Nets, who are struggling in the last couple of games.
Perhaps having Kyrie every game would give them that boost they need to recover the 1st seed in the East and the competitiveness they used to show.