The NBA fined the Brooklyn Nets $50,000 for letting guard Kyrie Irving into the locker room during Sunday’s Knicks game. Mr. Irving was not vaccinated against Covid-19 and therefore was not allowed to be with the team at Barclays Center.
Mr Irving had attended the game as a spectator with a seat in the front row.
Under New York City law, Mr. Irving cannot play in games at the Barclays Center due to the vaccination requirement for face-to-face workers in New York City.
Mayor Eric Adams relaxed some vaccine requirements earlier this month, the private sector relinquished its mandate. In accordance with the NBA’s health and safety protocols, teams must comply with local ordinances.
Nets declined to comment.
During a public appearance on Sunday, Mr. Adams responded to a cheater who asked him to let Mr. Irving play: “Listen, you’re right. Kyrie can play tomorrow: Get vaccinated.”
Nets forward Kevin Durant called the rule “nonsense” after the Knicks game. He also criticized the mayor.
“Right now it looks like someone is trying to make a statement or flex their authority,” Mr. Durant told reporters. “Everyone here is looking for attention. I feel the mayor is asking right now: some attention.”
Minutes after the NBA announced the Nets’ suspension on Monday, Mr. Durant made a statement through the Nets and softened his stance towards Mr. Adams.
“The past two years have been a difficult and painful time for New Yorkers as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of rules and authorities,” the statement said. “I appreciate the mayor’s task before him, along with the whole city. My disappointment with the situation does not change the fact that I will always be committed to helping the communities and cities in which I live and play.”
Mr Irving’s vaccination situation has plagued the Nets all season. He has appeared in only 18 of 68 games for the team, partly because his tenure prevented him from playing at home and he refused to be vaccinated. Mr. Irving is allowed to play in road games where cities don’t require vaccinations. Toronto, where only the Raptors play, prohibits unvaccinated guest players from competing.