Nets fined $50,000 for allowing Kyrie Irving to enter locker room during home game vs. Knicks

The Brooklyn Nets picked up another victory on Sunday afternoon, holding off the New York Knicks, 110-107, to extend their winning streak to three games. Kevin Durant led the way, pouring in a season-high 53 points, but his brilliant performance was not the only headline.

That’s because Kyrie Irving, who is still not allowed to play in home games at Barclays Center, was in attendance for the first time all season. He showed up late in the first half and took a courtside seat as a fan. During halftime, however, he made his way to the locker room, and as a result, the Nets have been fined $50,000.

The NBA’s press release:

The Brooklyn Nets organization has been fined $50,000 for violating local New York City law and league health and safety protocols during the team’s March 13th game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center, the NBA announced today.

The violation occurred when the Nets allowed Kyrie Irving, who was in attendance at the game, to enter the team’s locker room.

Earlier this month on March 7, New York City’s public sector mask and vaccine mandate was removed, which means that unvaccinated persons like Irving are now allowed into indoor spaces such as bars, restaurants and arenas. As a result, Irving was able to attend the game as a fan.

He is still not allowed to play, though, because New York City’s private sector vaccine mandate remains in place. In order to work for a New York City-based business, you must be vaccinated. While Irving was allowed in the building, he was there as a paying customer, not an employee. When he entered the locker room, he technically crossed over into the workplace environment, which is not allowed and resulted in a fine from the NBA.

From a health perspective, it does not make much sense that Irving can enter the building without a mask and watch the game from a courtside seat, but cannot play. The Nets and Irving seemingly tried to make that point by having him show up to a national TV game, and stars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant both voiced their displeasure with the rule.

It’s unlikely that New York City mayor Eric Adams will make any changes soon. He fired over 1,000 city workers in February for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and does not want to create a loophole for Irving. When heckled about the situation at a press conference over the weekend, Adams suggested that if Irving wants to play he should get the vaccine.

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