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Kyrie Irving absent from Nets media day as questions over vaccine status emerge | NBA

The first signs that the NBA may have a vaccine problem on its hands have emerged after one of the league’s biggest stars, the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, did not attend his team’s media day.

Irving’s exact vaccination status is unconfirmed but according to Rolling Stone he has liked social media posts that suggests shadowy cabals are “implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for ‘a plan of Satan.’” New York City laws state that anyone entering a sports arena or other “indoor gyms and fitness settings” must show proof of at least one Covid-19 shot.

The Nets’ general manager, Sean Marks, said last week that some of Brooklyn’s players are still unvaccinated but he expects the team to be fully compliant with Covid-19 protocols when the season starts next month.

Irving’s teammate, Kevin Durant, was present at Monday’s media day and said he was unconcerned about the point guard’s status. “I expect it not to be an issue. It’s on Kyrie and that’s his personal decision. I expect us to have our whole team,” Durant told reporters.

The NBA says 90% of its players are fully vaccinated, a higher rate than the US population as a whole. However, according to Rolling Stone there are a number of players still refusing the vaccine on religious grounds or due to a belief in debunked conspiracy theories.

The NBA does not prohibit unvaccinated athletes from playing but they are subject to stricter protocols. Local laws – such as in New York City and San Francisco – prohibit unvaccinated people from large indoor gatherings, meaning athletes who have not had a shot may be blocked from games.

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