The Brooklyn Nets have officially ended their tug-of-war with Kyrie Irving over the star point guard’s vaccination status. And Irving, who has refused to get a COVID-19 shot, is unquestionably the winner.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus’s Omicron variant has left gaps on rosters across the NBA. Because positive tests had rendered so many players ineligible, the Nets finally buckled to Irving, who had not played this season because New York City’s vaccine mandate for certain indoor facilities had banished him from home games. To let Irving on the court now, even just for away games, is a drastic turnaround for a team that had sidelined him rather than deploy him part-time. After he cleared the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday, Irving will be eligible to play for the Nets when they travel to Indiana to face the Pacers on January 5.
This resolution of the Nets’ high-profile dispute with Irving is part of a larger problem in professional sports: Confronted with this latest virus surge, both the NBA and the NFL have essentially waved the white flag. They are easing their health rules and sending conciliatory signals to players who have refused to get COVID-19 shots.
Both leagues had adopted a range of health protocols that strongly encouraged vaccination. But now the leagues are choosing instead to cede to the forces of capitalism. Short-term financial concerns are dictating that even as Omicron spreads, games must go on. And if that means holding vaccinated and unvaccinated players to the same standards, the leagues will do it.
After the CDC issued new guidelines Monday that will shorten quarantine times for anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus, the NBA announced that players who test positive will have to isolate for only six days, rather than 10, if they have no symptoms. The NFL and the NFL Players Association quickly announced that players with positive test results can return after five days. Stunningly, the two leagues’ abbreviated new quarantine timelines apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
Akoben Adinkrahene: What does this really mean? It means that the NFL and NBA understands that even they were slated to be bankrupted by supporting this scam!
One of the questions I would have is, what does the governor of New York do now. As it would seem that someone will be pulling her strings with the quickness!