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Silver: Irving's Refusal to Get Vaccinated is an NYC Issue, Not a League One

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made it clear that Kyrie Irving's COVID-19 vaccination refusal has nothing to do with him or the NBA on Monday. 

During his annual preseason conference, Silver was adamant that Irving's refusal to get vaccinated was not his issue to deal with and ultimately hopes the star guard will get vaccinated. 

“This is between Irving and New York City right now,” Silver said, per ESPN. “This is not a league issue … but I think it would have been best for everyone if every player were vaccinated. I hope that Kyrie...ultimately decides to get vaccinated."

New York City and San Francisco are the only two cities in the country that are requiring professional athletes to show proof of vaccination for competitions inside stadiums in order to play home games. Irving has not budged on his stance and the Nets have elected to not have Irving serve as a part-time player. He will not play in practice or away games until he gets vaccinated or the mandate is over. 

Irving explained his stance on why he refuses to get vaccinated last week during an Instagram Live and said that he is doing so because he wants to stand up for those who have lost their jobs for their refusal to get vaccinated. Irving also said he has no intention of retiring

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Silver shared his disappointment in the National Basketball Players Association for not agreeing to a league-wide mandate to receive the vaccine. He believes it has made the decision to get vaccinated or not more combative than it should be.

"I would have preferred that ultimately that the players association agreed to mandatory vaccinations," he said, per ESPN. "The officials union agreed to mandatory vaccinations, despite opposition from some of their members.

“But ultimately I think we could have avoided a lot of the adversarial nature of these issues for our players. It's not so much with the league. I think that gets confused in some cases.”

In a September report from Rolling Stone, the NBA's standoff with anti-vaccine players is detailed — including their commitment to not allowing a league-wide mandate. In the report, Irving is said to be one of those players. Additionally, Irving is said to have engaged on Instagram content that supports conspiracy theories like one that claims "secret societies" are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan," per the report. 

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