Adam Silver has remained relatively quiet on Kyrie Irving and his unvaccinated status. But on Monday, the commissioner weighed in.
He deferred the situation to the NBAPA, as well as the New York State mandate that does not allow for any unvaccinated player to play in their stadiums.
“I won’t try to speak for [the NBPA], other than the view that some players had, I think — including maybe some players who are vaccinated — that it should be an individual choice among the players,” Silver said during his annual preseason news conference, which was conducted virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would have preferred that ultimately that the players’ association agreed to mandatory vaccinations. 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.”
“This is between Irving and New York City right now,” he continued. “This is not a league issue … but I think it would have been best for everyone if every player were vaccinated.”
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Kyrie Irving remains as the only NBA player who isn’t allowed to play this season due to a state mandate after Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins caved.
Adam Silver was asked if the whole situation was “fair” to Irving.
“I’m not sure if fair is the right way to approach it because there’s nothing fair about this virus,” Silver said. “It’s indiscriminate in terms of who it impacts, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate that New York and other cities have passed laws that require people who both work and visit arenas to be vaccinated. That seems to be a responsible public health decision made by those locales, and those are the circumstances in which the Nets find themselves operating.
“I accept that. I think that we understand as a league we have to play the cards that are dealt, just in the same way there are variations from market to market. I know there are players in some markets who would prefer that their local governments pass ordinances requiring that all the fans be vaccinated who are in the buildings with them.”