Eric Adams admits NYC rule barring Kyrie Irving from home games is ‘unfair,’ not enough to change it

Days after firing more than 1,400 city workers for being unvaccinated, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he thinks barring a basketball player from games for not getting the vaccine is “unfair.”

The Democrat is not looking at changing the rule for fear of sending “mixed messages,” but he did object to preventing Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving from playing in NBA home games.

“First of all, I think the rule is unfair,” Adams told reporters on Wednesday, speaking of the city’s vaccine mandate for indoor entertainment venues which was put in place by his predecessor, Bill de Blasio.

“I believe that we are saying to out-of-town athletes that they can come in and not be vaccinated. Yet New York athletes have to be vaccinated and they also do this for entertainers. I want people to know that. Entertainers can come here without being vaccinated and perform. I think it’s unfair,” Adams said.

(Video: CBS New York)

Although the NBA does not have a rule requiring players to be vaccinated, the New York City mandate prevents Irving from playing in home games with his team which are held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Employees and audience members at the venue are also required to show proof of vaccination while visiting sports players are exempt.

“I am really, really leery about sending the wrong message,” Adams told reporters. “Having the city close down again keeps me up at night. And the message was put in place, the rule was put in place. To start changing it now I think would send mixed messages. So I’m struggling with this.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also expressed confusion over the city’s rule that has kept the Nets’ 29-year-old, seven-time NBA All-Star from playing home games.

“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me, is that it only applies to home players,” Silver told ESPN’s “Get Up” on Wednesday.

“I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays but the home player can’t. To me that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance,” he added.

“So while, again, my personal view is people should get vaccinated and boosted, I can imagine a scenario where Brooklyn, as part of New York City, with a new mayor now who wasn’t in place, Eric Adams, when that original ordinance was put into place, I could see him deciding to change along the way and say it’s no longer necessary to have a mandatory vaccination requirement, as I said, particularly one that only affects home players,” Silver said.


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