Through nearly the midpoint of the 2021-22 NBA season, Kyrie Irving has yet to play a home game for the Brooklyn Nets and has suited up for just two games in total. All of it stems from Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated and comply with New York City’s mandate for indoor events.
Yet according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Irving could play home games if the Nets wish to pay a price. Bondy articulated the financial penalties for anyone who fails to comply “with The Key to NYC, as outlined in Bill de Blasio’s executive order.”
Kyrie Irving could be available in Nets home games if Brooklyn is willing to pay a ‘small fine’, per @SBondyNYDN
1st offense: Warning.
2nd offense: $1K fine.
3rd offense: $2K fine.
4th offense: $5K fine.
5th offense to infinity offenses: $5K fine
(Via https://t.co/g9z4zDGSRz) pic.twitter.com/3WXCfxdULm
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 12, 2022
Nets owner Joe Tsai has a net worth of more than $8 billion dollars. At most, the Nets have 36 home games remaining, including the playoffs. The fines would amount to fewer than $180,000 if Brooklyn opted to immediately begin allowing Irving to play home games.
The Nets, one has to presume, were probably already aware of these stipulations and it seems unlikely things will change imminently. However, the chances he is fully available for the playoffs doesn’t seem implausible. Merely issuing a small financial penalty to a billionaire for enabling the refusal of public health protocols amid a pandemic is pretty futile, albeit unsurprising.
Whether Brooklyn, Tsai, and Irving opt to incur those fines is unknown, though. Regardless, this adds a new wrinkle to a long-standing storyline and is worth monitoring moving forward.