Saturday is the game that feels most notable, as the Nets are a behemoth. But with Kevin Durant injured, and Kyrie Irving refusing to
do the bare minimum for public safetyget vaccinated, the Dubs are really just facing James Harden and a cast of slightly misfit role players (I believe that Irving is ineligible to play due to San Francisco’s vaccine mandates, though the rules have been unclear).
I’m glad I included that parenthetical, because what do you know: it turns out that Irving will be allowed to play on Saturday when the Nets march into the Chase Center.
This despite San Francisco mandates that would prohibit any Warriors from playing in home games if they were not vaccinated for the coronavirus. And despite those same mandates prohibiting any fans from attending games if they’ve not been inoculated (both very good mandates, I should clarify).
But Irving, who famously has not been vaccinated, will be allowed to play merely because he’s a player on the visiting team.
That’s been the case all season, with the city’s mandate allowing unvaccinated players to suit up at Chase Center, presuming they’re on the visiting team. It’s unclear, but likely that other unvaccinated players have already played in the Warriors’ arena — Irving’s vaccination status is only known because he plays in one of the few markets with such a mandate, which made him quite a story.
Not surprisingly, people are upset about the exemption allowing a millionaire athlete to essentially skirt the rules. Speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney said, “I don’t think he should have gotten the exemption. We have a standard and it should apply to everyone. You’ve got bus drivers and firefighters being told they can’t come into work unless they are vaccinated. Then you have basketball players playing by a different set of rules, and it breeds cynicism over what are clearly double standards. If New York won’t let him play at home, I don’t see why San Francisco should let him play here.”
But Irving, who only recently joined the Nets for home games (ironically because the team had a shortage of available players due to the coronavirus), can, and presumably will play.
And that’s just a wee bit ridiculous.