Adam Silver isn’t the only one who seems to think the vaccine mandate preventing Kyrie Irving from play at Barclays Center is unfair. New York City Mayor Eric Adams seemed to agree with Silver’s take, but said he was struggling with what to do about it because he didn’t want to send the wrong message.
Mayor Adams was asked about Silver’s comments during an unrelated press conference at City Hall on Wednesday.
“First of all, I think the rule is unfair,” Adams said. “I believe that we’re saying to out-of-town athletes that they can come in and not be vaccinated. Ye,t New York athletes you 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 and I think it’s unfair.”
Irving has not been able to suit up for the Nets at the Barclays Center and missed Wednesday’s game against the crosstown rival New York Knicks because of the vaccine mandate. In fact, because of the mandate and restrictions in Canada Irving will only be able to play in one of the seven upcoming games on the Nets’ schedule.
While the Mayor appeared to agree that the mandate was unfair to local athletes, he wouldn’t commit to changing it. Adams has maintained the original mandate that his predecessor Bill de Blasio originally put in place, and was concerned a change could confuse the public.
“I am really leery about sending the wrong message,” Adams explained. “Having the city close down again keeps me up at night and the message we put in place, the rule was put in place, to start changing it now I think it would send mixed messages. So I’m struggling with this, just to be honest with you.”
It appeared that a reporter tried to ask a follow-up question, but the Mayor was moved on to another reporter’s question.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams comments on Adam Silver’s remarks this morning on @GetUpESPN and if he would consider lifting the vaccine mandate. Calls it “unfair” that road athletes and entertainers can come into New York to play/perform. Also says he’s “struggling” with it. pic.twitter.com/HJDAGkE9ry
— Christopher Lavinio (@ChrisLavinio) February 16, 2022
Irving and the Nets have remained hopeful that the mandate would be lifted or at least changed allowing the Brooklyn superstar to play games at the Barclays Center, especially with the playoffs rapidly approaching. As of now, Irving can only play in eight of the remaining games in the regular season.
While Adams appeared to be conflicted about what to do, it was only two weeks ago that a spokesperson for Mayor Adams told NBA insider Chris Hayes that there were no plans to change the mandate.
The NBA commissioner questioned the mandate during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up earlier in the day on Wednesday, which prompted reporters to ask Adams about it later.
“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players,” Silver said. “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.
“I’ll say also being here in the New York market, feeling particularly in the last week, many of the masking restrictions are being lifted. You can just feel it in the city, there are more people in restaurants, more people out and about.”