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More than 90 percent of NBA players have been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the league, and all referees and key staff on the team without exemptions will also be by the start of the season in three weeks . But a few top players, including Nets star Kyrie Irving, have expressed skepticism about vaccines or have been evasive about their vaccine status.

Because the Nets are expected to be one of the top contenders for the championship, and the team is one of only three whose players need to be vaccinated to play in their arenas, Irving’s vaccination status could be just as much of a factor. in the NBA rankings as his team’s game. .

“I would like to keep this all private,” Irving told reporters Monday in response to a question about whether he expected to play home games this season. “Please just respect my privacy. Any questions leading up to what’s going on, please. Everything will be posted on a deadline once this is clarified. “

As the Nets held their media day at the Barclays Center on Monday, Irving answered reporters’ questions via video conference rather than in person. Several reports said Irving was not in attendance due to league health protocols. In Rolling Stone magazine this weekend, Irving’s aunt, Tyki Irving, said Irving was not vaccinated for reasons “not based on religion, but on morals.” It is not known when the interview took place.

As of September 13, Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks play, have required all employees and guests aged 12 and over without religious or medical exemptions to prove that they have received at least one dose of the vaccine, to comply with a mandate. from Mayor Bill de Blasio regarding sports arenas.

A similar requirement in San Francisco applies to the Chase Center, where the Golden State Warriors play. Those terms mean Knicks, Nets and Golden State players can’t play their teams’ 41 home games without being vaccinated, which the NBA and New York arenas define as having received at least one dose. At the Chase Center, players must be fully immunized. The NBA said teams don’t have to pay players for missing these games because they aren’t vaccinated. For Irving, who is in the third year of a four-year, $ 136 million contract, that could mean a substantial loss.

The NBA Players Union did not accept a vaccination mandate for its members, but the Referees Union accepted one. All league and team personnel approaching within 15 feet of players must be fully vaccinated, unless they have religious or medical exemptions. In the WNBA, 99% of players were fully vaccinated in June. The women’s league does not have a vaccination mandate.

At least one NBA player has tried to get a religious exemption to forgo the vaccine: Golden State goalie Andrew Wiggins. The league said on Friday it had rejected his request. Like Irving, Wiggins would not discuss his immunization status Monday, Golden State Media Day.

“Who are you guys where I have to explain what I believe?” Wiggins said. “Or what’s right or wrong on my mind?” “

In Washington on Wizards media day, however, goaltender Bradley Beal explained why he was not vaccinated. The three-time All-Star missed the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for the coronavirus. Beal told reporters about the experience: “I haven’t been sick at all. I lost my scent, but that was it for me. Everyone will react differently.

“Some people have bad reactions to the vaccine. Nobody likes to talk about it. What happens if one of our players gets vaccinated and cannot play after that? Or do they have complications after that? Because there are cases like that.

There are no publicly known cases of professional basketball players running out of time due to vaccine-related side effects, and serious side effects are rare for anyone. However, some athletes have spoken of persistent respiratory and muscle problems after having Covid-19. The NBA and the players’ union reported more than 75 positive coronavirus tests among players during the 2020-21 season, most before vaccines became widely available.

Jonathan Isaac of Orlando Magic, a 23-year-old forward, who told Rolling Stone he was not vaccinated, and confirmed it to reporters on Monday.

“At the end of the day, it’s the people,” Isaac told the magazine, referring to the scientists who developed the vaccines. “And you can’t always trust people completely. “

According to Rolling Stone, Isaac “studied black history and watched Donald Trump press conferences” to inform his position on the vaccine. (Former President Donald J. Trump was vaccinated in January, but says he won the 2020 election with much lower vaccination rates than those favored by President Biden.)

On Monday, Isaac challenged the magazine’s characterization of him.

“I am not anti-vax. I am not an anti-drug. I am not anti-science. I didn’t get to my current immunization status by studying black history or watching Donald Trump press conferences, ”Isaac said. “I have the greatest respect for every healthcare worker and person in Orlando and around the world who has worked tirelessly to keep us safe.”

Phoenix Suns goalie Devin Booker, who helped his team advance to the final last season, announced during a live Twitch broadcast this weekend that he had Covid-19 and had lost the sense of taste and smell. As a result, he is expected to miss at least part of training camp, which begins this week.

“I’m not going to tell you guys if I have the vaccine or not, but you can still get Covid with the vaccine,” Booker said on the feed, adding, “Find out.”

Several actors have participated in campaigns encouraging people to be vaccinated, including Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose mother died of Covid-19. Commissioner Adam Silver said in the spring that he expected most players to get the shot.

Several Irving teammates said Monday they were not worried about his vaccine status.

“It’s Kyrie, and it’s his personal decision,” said Nets forward Kevin Durant. “What he does is not for us to speculate on what might happen, but we trust Kyrie. I expect we will have our entire squad at some point.



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