Kyrie Irving M.I.A. from Nets Media Day as Vaxx Questions Swirl

The NBA requires its players to participate in their team’s pre-season media day. The Brooklyn Nets held theirs on Monday and, for the second year in a row, Kyrie Irving is missing.

Irving’s absence comes two days after Rolling Stone reported on the NBA’s struggle to manage a significant subset of its players who have so far refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Among the most prominent of those players is Kyrie Irving. The Nets superstar is an incredible talent on the court, but he has also long flirted with conspiracy theories. Now, his vaccination status is a question mark hanging over the Nets as they gear up for a championship run. He reportedly missed the team’s media day due to New York City’s proof-of-vaccination requirement.

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Kevin Durant and James Harden, who along with Irving make up the team’s “Big Three,” were asked about their teammate on Monday.

“It’s on Kyrie,” Durant said. “It’s a personal decision.”

Harden, also a former MVP, directed reporters to Irving who, again, did not attend the team’s media day. “You guys are gonna to talk to Kyrie soon, right?” Harden said. “I’ll let you listen to what he has to say about that, but obviously Kyrie is a huge part what we’re trying to do.”

Irving’s vaccination status is unknown, but a confidant and family member told Rolling Stone that anti-vaxx players could wind up skipping home games to get around New York City’s ordinance requiring pro athletes to show proof of vaccination to play indoors. Nets who refuse to get vaccinated would still be able to play in other arenas, however, as the league has failed to implement a policy requiring its players to get vaccinated, after running into opposition from the players’ union.

Rolling Stone revealed that Irving, a vice president on the executive committee of the union, has been following and liking social media posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims the vaccine is part of a Satanic scheme to connect Black people to a master computer, and that the misinformation campaign has spread across multiple lockers rooms.

According to Rolling Stone‘s reporting, around 50 to 60 players have yet to receive a single dose of the vaccine as training camp approaches.

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