NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wanted vaccine warrant, says Kyrie Irving status is issue with New York City

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on Monday he would have “preferred” for the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association to come to an agreement on a vaccination warrant, in part to prevent it from becoming an “adversarial issue” “for league players, as it has been. for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.

“I will not try to speak for [the NBPA], aside from the opinion that some players had, I think – including perhaps some players who are vaccinated – that it should be an individual choice among players, “Silver said at his annual pre-season press conference. season, which practically unfolded due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would have preferred that in the end the Players ‘Association had accepted compulsory vaccinations. The officials’ union agreed to compulsory vaccinations, despite opposition from some of their members. But in the end, I think we could have avoid much of the adversarial nature of these issues for our players. It’s not so much with the league. I think it gets confusing in some cases.

“It’s between Irving and New York right now. It’s not a league issue… but I think it would have been better for everyone if every player was vaccinated.”

Irving is the only NBA player who, as of Monday, cannot play this season due to a vaccination warrant. New York City enacted a mandate last month that requires anyone going to a public gymnasium, like Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, to be vaccinated against COVID-19. San Francisco passed a similar law that went into effect last week, but required individuals to be fully immunized.

While Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has finally been vaccinated, allowing him to play, and the New York Knicks are fully vaccinated, Irving is the only Nets player who decided not to get himself. vaccinate and therefore is not eligible to play Barclays. Center or Madison Square Garden. It’s a move that, if he sticks to it all season, could cost him close to $ 20 million.

Visiting players, however, are exempt from the law, which means Irving is the only one who cannot play accordingly. Silver said he had heard nothing about the possibility of the New York vaccination mandate being relaxed at any time this season.

When asked if it was “fair” that Irving couldn’t play when other unvaccinated players – like Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal – are able to play without a problem, Silver said the framing of the question was wrong.

“I’m not sure fairness is the right way to approach it because there is nothing fair about this virus,” Silver said. “It’s indiscriminate in terms of who this impacts, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate that New York City and other cities have passed laws that require people who work and visit arenas to be vaccinated. This appears to be a responsible public health decision made by these local ones, and these are the circumstances under which the Nets find themselves operating.

“I accept that. I think we understand that as a league we have to play the cards that are dealt, the same way there are variations from market to market. I know that. There are players in some markets who would prefer their governments to pass ordinances requiring all fans who are in buildings with them to be vaccinated.

“We’ll see how it goes. I mean, frankly, I hope Kyrie – despite his feelings for the vaccination – finally decides to get the shot because I would love to see him play basketball this season, and I would love to see him play basketball this season. see the Brooklyn Nets have their full complement of players on the field. “

Irving’s decision not to get the shot, in addition to comments made by Beal and others about the vaccine, sparked a lot of comments on social media and elsewhere, which prompted Silver to wonder if it was. was something that preoccupied him.

Silver said he was and always encouraged players to speak out on issues they believe in. But, he said, he doesn’t think someone’s personal opinions automatically become their right, and cited Irving’s situation as an example.

“… I think it gets lost sometimes, that having an opinion about whether to get the shot is different from your right to play NBA basketball,” said Silver. “We see this, for example, in the New York market right now, when there is a conflict with a player’s point of view and local law, and local law is going to trump the point. of view of this player.

“I’ve always tried to make players feel comfortable using this platform that the league offers them. I’m not literally talking about the league. Just by being a famous player in the NBA. , that they use it responsibly, that they educate themselves about the points of view, but they are also respected in return.

“I hope that as long as players continue to express their views on a variety of topics, those views will be respected. Again, this does not mean that the league will necessarily agree with them or that the fans will be, but that the fans will respect them for that, as long as it doesn’t cross certain lines of vulgarity or hate speech … there are obviously other categories that people shouldn’t go to as representatives of this league.

• Silver said the NBA’s investigation into a possible forgery by the Chicago Bulls in their signing-and-trade deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for Lonzo Ball and the Miami Heat in their signing-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors for Kyle Lowry was “ongoing.” He declined to give a timeline for the end of this investigation.

“From a league perspective, we’re just trying to create a level playing field,” said Silver. “We tried to reset two years ago and make it clear to our teams that in the future, as much as possible, we would strictly enforce these rules, and that’s what we’re dealing with here. moment.”

• Regarding the expansion, Silver said he has yet to set foot in Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, the renovated former Key Arena and home of the NHL expansion team, the Seattle Kraken. He added that the expansion is not something the league will pursue until it is fully on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that at some point we’ll be looking very seriously at the potential expansion,” Silver said, “and like I said before, Seattle is one of those cities that we monitor. We have had great success there in the past, and the fact that they now have a state-of-the-art arena back online only increases their prospects. But it is. premature to be more specific than that. “

• Silver said it was “unclear” whether the NBA would revert to state-run video surveillance in China this season. The NBA hasn’t broadcast any games since Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of protesters in Hong Kong two years ago this month.

• Silver once again stated that he was in favor of adding a mid-season tournament to the NBA calendar, but that most of the work will have to be done not only to create the format, but also to convince players that it is a worthwhile effort.

“But we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to convince,” he said. “I know that for some of the players I’ve spoken to directly, they have a hard time, I think, considering the advantage of another form of competition when they’re so focused on the Larry O’Brien Trophy and not not necessarily see us being able to create a new tradition.

“My response to that, especially after being with the league for so long, is that these things take time. I think we’re in a position where we should take a long-term view looking at these changes in society that are taking place. surround us and watch – and it’s a responsibility of the league office to look ahead on these things. “

• Silver said he was “optimistic” that the NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland next February can be celebrated in a near-normal fashion this year as the league struggles to get out of the league. other side of the ongoing pandemic. The league is announcing its 75th anniversary squad on ESPN and TNT over the next few days, starting on TNT Tuesday night.

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