New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday lifted the Big Apple’s vaccination mandates barring unvaccinated professional athletes from competing within the city’s limits. That means Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving can finally see the floor of the Barclays Center while the New York Mets and Yankees can field full lineups in Queens and the Bronx.
The decision comes after Brooklyn’s star point guard had been barred from competing at the first 34 home games, which had put even more of a strain on a Nets team that has not met preseason expectations tabbing them as overwhelming NBA Finals favorites.
In 20 road games this season, the 30-year-old has averaged 28.5 points and 5.5 assists.
“This is about putting New York City-based performers on a level playing field,” Adams said. “Day 1 when I was mayor, I looked at the rule that stated hometown players had an unfair disadvantage for those who were coming to visit. Immediately, I felt we needed to look at that with medical professionals… We had to wait… to re-examine some of the mandates.”
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Uncertainty had surrounded the viability of Mets and Yankees players — notable portions of each roster have not been vaccinated — who kick off the 2022 regular season exactly two weeks from Thursday on April 7.
“It was unimaginable that we were treating our performers differently because they lived and played for home teams,” Adams continued. “It’s not acceptable. This exemption has been put in our sports teams as a self-imposed competitive disadvantage.
“But this new order will help boost our economy.”
Winning teams will generally do that, and all of the Nets, Mets, and Yankees are expected to compete for their respective titles this season.