NBA

Anti-vaccine-mandate protesters show support for Irving ahead of Nets game

Protesters opposed to the vaccine mandate jumped barricades and tried to enter the Barclays Center ahead of the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener on Sunday.

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Anti-vaccine-mandate protesters show support for Irving ahead of Nets game
Brad Penner USA TODAY Sports

Demonstrators gathered outside the Barclays Center ahead of the Brooklyn Nets’ first home game of the 2021-22 NBA season in support of star guard Kyrie Irving, chanting “No vaccine mandate, stand with Kyrie.” They later pushed past barriers and tried to enter the arena.

The people participated in the protest to show their support for Irving, who cannot play with the Nets as he has chosen not to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Barclays Center bars people from entry

Security had to close down the venue and hold off the protesters, preventing some fans from getting inside.

“Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to clear protesters from the main doors on the plaza and ensure guests could safely enter the arena,” according to a statement issued by a Barclays Center spokesperson.

“Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule.”

The game against the Charlotte Hornets began at 4:00 p.m. ET, and the Nets lost the match, 111-95.

Nets won't allow "part-time availability"

Irving has missed the three games the Nets have played so far. He has said his decision not to be vaccinated was a personal choice.

The team announced before the start of the season that Irving would not be allowed to play or practice with the Nets until he gets vaccinated and thus be able to participate fully.

“Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” according to Nets GM Sean Marks.

The vaccine mandate in New York bans unvaccinated people from entering indoor gyms, making Irving ineligible to play during the Nets’ home games at the Barclays Center.