Brooklyn Nets fans rejoice. You will finally see Kyrie Irving play professional basketball in the Barclays Center. Thursday (Mar.24), NYC Mayor Eric Adams will formally announce from Citi Field that he will be easing the private sector COVID-19 vaccine mandate allowing NY athletes to play in home games.
The news dropped on what was Kyrie Irving’s 30th birthday. The “voice for the voiceless” did suit up for action last night alongside Kevin Durant as the Nets took on a Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies team in Memphis. Irving was spectacular, dropping 43 points, with Durant adding 35 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists, but it wasn’t enough.
Mayor Adams closing of the loophole allowing visiting unvaccinated professional athletes to play in NYC sports venues while home players couldn’t have come at a better time. The Nets are gearing up to start their playoff run, and Opening Day for the MLB is right around the corner. When the news dropped, many people were quick to point out this decision only happened for one reason: it would affect the New York Yankees and Mets. Out of all the American professional sports leagues, the MLB has the lowest vaccination rate among its players. It has been widely speculated that Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is unvaccinated. According to sources, baseball officials were working to the mayor’s office pushing for changes to the mandate, ESPN reports.
This is welcoming news to those still opposed to taking the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been proven safe and effective in preventing severe infections if you do catch COVID-19. Still, those same unvaccinated players will not be able to play Toronto. Canada’s vaccine mandate does not allow unvaccinated individuals to enter the country, and many believe our neighbors to the north will not be dropping their mandate anytime soon.
Yay for sports, we guess. COVID-19 is still here, and there is a new Omicron BA.2 sub-variant quickly becoming the dominant strain across the country. But experts like Dr. Fauci don’t expect a surge the likes of what we experience when COVID-19 first hit and with the subsequent Omicron wave. But this pandemic is fluid, so there is no guarantee we won’t see mandates put back in place.
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Photo: Justin Ford / Getty