Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant voiced his frustration over a loophole that allows unvaccinated Kyrie Irving to watch his team play from the sidelines without wearing a mask, but won’t let him suit up for home games.
Irving spectated from courtside seats as Durant led their team to a 110-107 victory over the NYC Knicks, due to a mandate that bans him from playing, but allows unvaccinated visiting players to compete at the Barclays Center.
“Yeah, I don’t get it,” Durant said at a post-game press conference. “But at this point now, it feels like somebody’s trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. But everybody out here is looking for attention, and that’s what I feel the mayor wants right now is some attention. He’ll figure it out soon. He better.”
“But it just didn’t make any sense. It’s unvaxxed people in this building already. We’ve got a guy who can come into the building, I guess are they fearing our safety? I don’t get it. We’re all confused. Everybody in the world is confused at this point.”
Durant then called out New York City mayor Eric Adams directly. “Earlier on in the season, people didn’t understand what’s going on, but now it just looks stupid. So hopefully, Eric, you’ve gotta figure this out.”
Irving is allowed to watch home games with the general public, after the city’s indoor vaccine and mask requirements were recently dropped, though NYC mandates affecting the private workforce remain in place.
The NBA slapped the Nets with a $50k fine on Monday, for “violating local New York City law and league health and safety protocols,” after Irving was allowed into the team locker room during halftime.
Durant seemingly walked back his comments about Adams the same day. “The last two years have been a difficult and painful time for New Yorkers, as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of the rules and mandates. I do appreciate the task the Mayor has in front of him with all the city has been through,” he remarked diplomatically.
“My frustration with the situation doesn’t change the fact that I will always be committed to helping the communities and cities I live in and play in.”