Nets' Sean Marks explains decision to not allow Kyrie Irving to play without fulfilling vaccine requirements

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Sean Marks during Nets press conference
Sean Marks during Nets press conference

Shortly after releasing an official statement, Nets GM Sean Marks addressed the team’s decision to not allow Kyrie Irving to play or practice until he is eligible to be a full participant.

It’s been an ongoing situation between the organization and one of its star players, as Irving is not vaccinated, and per New York City COVID-19 mandates, he is not allowed to play home games or practice in Brooklyn.

Marks explained the decision and how it ultimately came down to him and owner Joe Tsai.

“We, as always, involve a lot of people in this. But this decision came down to the two of us and it’s what’s best for the organization in this point in time,” he said.

“I think we had everything on the board. We looked at everything. When you make a decision like this, it’s one you don’t want to do hastily. Again, involve all the parties, think about the variety of all different outcomes. I think we all know what our objective is this year and how a decision like this maybe affects that ultimate objective.

“So, they’re never easy decisions, but at the end of the day, I think we’re looking at putting a group of people out there that are going to be able to participate fully and that’s what this comes down to. We’re not looking for partners that are going to be half-time. I don’t think that would be fair not only on the team, and staff, and ownership, and fans. But, to be quite frank, not fair on Kyrie, either.”

Here’s what else Marks touched on during his news conference, as the Nets look to move forward from this decision while Irving determines what he’ll do next.

Does Marks believe Irving will eventually get the vaccine?

He’ll leave this question up to Irving himself to answer.

“Kyrie’s made it clear he has a choice in this matter and it’s ultimately going to be up to him whether he decides. We respect the fact that he has a choice. He can make his own right to choose. Again, what’s best for the organization is the path that we’re taking and I don’t want to speak for Kyrie. At the right time, I’m sure he will address his feelings and what the path may be for him.”

How will Nets handle Irving’s absence moving forward?

“I don’t know that I want to address the hypotheticals of what may happen in the future here. I think this is pretty raw, pretty fresh. I think we got to let the dust settle. The hope is that we have Kyrie back. We’ll welcome him back with open arms under a different set of circumstances. We need to wait and see how that transpires.

“In the meantime, we need to focus on the 16 players that are going to be on this roster moving forward with us.

“Without a doubt, losing a player of Kyrie’s caliber hurts from a talent perspective. No question, I’m not going to deny that.”

How it impacts Irving financially

Marks made sure to say that Irving will only be losing compensation for home games this season, meaning he still gets paid for road games despite the team deciding he can’t be with the team.

“The only salary that he’s going to lose is for the home games. That’s it. So other than that, no.”