Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving says he was aware of the consequences of choosing not to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but not "prepared for them," after the team said this would prevent him from being able to play or practice.
The Brooklyn Nets in October announced that Irving's "personal choice" regarding his COVID-19 vaccine status "restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team," and he therefore could not play or practice because "we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability." Despite this, Irving is now returning to the Nets in a part-time capacity.
"I understood their choice to say if you're not going to be fully vaccinated, then you can't be a full participant," he said. "I knew the consequences. I wasn't prepared for them by no stretch of the imagination coming into this season."
Irving can now only play road games due to New York's vaccine rules preventing him from being able to play at the Barclays Center, CNN reports. He said it's been "relatively tough to watch from the sideline" but that he would be "grateful for the opportunity" to play, "even if it's just on the road for away games."
Irving previously defended his refusal to get vaccinated, saying, "I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask y'all just to respect that choice."