After over a year, New York City has finally dropped its indoor mask mandate. Kyrie Irving will still not be eligible to play.
A few weeks ago, New York City Mayor Eric Adams was adamant about his desire to see Irving play and even suggested that it was a possibility we could see him in a home game this year.
"Listen, I want Kyrie on the court. I would do anything to get that ring," Adams said. "But there's so much at stake here. We want to find a way to get Kyrie on the court, but this is a bigger issue. I can't have my city closed down again. It would send the wrong message just to have an exception for one player when we're telling countless number of New York City employees, 'If you don't follow the rules, you won't be able to be employed,'" he added.
Now, weeks later, Irving seems no closer to a full-time status than he did back in January. Apparently, even dropping the mask mandate is not enough to allow Irving back in Barclays Center. Due to a private sector of the mandate staying active, Kyrie isn't allowed to suit up for his team at home -- even though he can watch from the sidelines.
The whole thing is confusing and quite bizarre, but NYC Mayor Adams isn't fazed by the attention it has been gathering. In fact, when a group of hecklers called for Irving to be allowed to play, he shot back with a quick remark.
In reaction to the recent development, Irving's teammate, Kevin Durant, issued the following response to the media:
“I don’t get it. It just feels like, at this point now, somebody’s trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. Everybody out here looking for attention and that’s what I feel like the mayor wants right now. Some attention. But he’ll figure it out soon. He better.”
The whole thing just reeks for the Nets and their fans. The absence of Irving may be what holds them back from a Championship this season, and a lot of people still don't understand why he is still being banned from the arena.
Unfortunately, this kind of confusion ad uncertainty has followed them all season long, and it's the price the entire team has paid for Kyrie's decision.
Hopefully, something changes soon.