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The NBA Really Needs A Standard To Address Players Who Don’t Vaccinate

There are going to be some unhappy franchises about all of this

Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets
Bradley Beal, L and Kyrie Irving R, have both declined the Covid-19 vaccine, but Beal can continue to play while Irving has been sidelined by the Brooklyn Nets.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Former Duke guard Kyrie Irving has taken a lot of heat lately about his stance on the Covid-19 vaccination. If you haven’t heard, he has declined to take the shot, saying on Instagram Live that “[I]t’s not being anti-vax. It’s about what feels good to me. I’m feeling uncertain … and that’s OK. I know the consequences of the decision I make with my life.

“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is.”

“If you choose to get the vaccine, I support you. Do what’s best for you. I continue to pray for all those out there who have lost Covid.”

The problem for Irving is that New York has a vaccine mandate and he cannot play in the city.

And the Brooklyn Nets, perhaps understandably, don't want to deal with a part-time linchpin and have sidelined him until the situation is resolved one way or another.

As you might expect, people have had different reactions which basically fall into one camp or the other. That’s the world we live in right now, so no big surprise there.

But what is a big surprise is this.

Bradley Beal is also not vaccinating. Yet he played against the Knicks on Saturday although the game was in Washington, not New York.

It’s not entirely a question for the New York teams since the city has a policy but the NBA now has a situation where the standards are entirely divergent for different teams.

We’re not saying this will be easy, but Commissioner Adam Silver would be wise to find a way to make some sort of a standard, whatever it is.