Boston became the latest major American city to issue a COVID vaccination mandate on Monday, but with one noticeable difference. Pro athletes will be exempt from it, allowing unvaccinated players on the Boston Celtics to continue to participate in home games when it goes into effect on Jan. 15.
The Boston exemption for professional athletes is sure to give some Nets fans renewed optimism that New York could adopt a similar policy that would allow Kyrie Irving to play games at Barclays Center. The current mandate, put in place by outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio, has prevented Irving from playing any games this season for the Nets.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams takes office on Jan. 1, but has shied away from making any overarching comments about how he will handle many of the COVID-19 edicts that his predecessor had used.
That includes any word on possible changes to the vaccine mandate in the five boroughs.
“The Adams Administration will have clear COVID policies in place when the Mayor-elect takes office and he will make public health decisions going forward based on the guidance of his health team, the status of the COVID threat, and science,” a spokesperson told amNewYork and The Brooklyn Game.
Boston’s order looked as though it would surely create another situation like the one the Nets have had with Irving. The Nets had originally decided not to allow Irving to play on a part-time basis, since he could only play games on the road for them.
At the time of this article’s publishing, the Nets did not respond to amNewYork’s inquiry for comment on such a possibility.
They had been prepared to welcome Irving back to play road games due to the COVID spike on the team, but that had to be put on hold after Irving had to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocol over the weekend.
The shorthanded Nets had to have two of their games postponed this week to help alleviate the some of the stress.
Professional sports leagues, including the NBA, have had a surge in COVID-19 cases that have forced game postponements or pauses to teams’ seasons. According to a CBS Sports COVID tracker, the NBA has more than 70 players in health and safety protocol at the moment.