New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday said he believes the city’s rule barring Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving from playing in NBA home games because he’s unvaccinated is “unfair” since visiting unvaccinated players can play, according to reports.
Adams said he was reluctant to amend the rule, however, because it would send a “mixed message” that an exception can be made for a celebrity but not regular employees or audience members in the arena, the New York Post reported.
All employees and audience members at the Brooklyn Barclays Center or any other New York City entertainment venue are required to be vaccinated.
Adams’ comments came two days after more than 1,400 city workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers, were fired for refusing to get vaccinated.
“First of all, I think the rule is unfair,” Adams told reporters. “I believe that we are saying to out-of-town athletes that they can come in and not be vaccinated. Yet New York athletes have to be vaccinated and they also do this for entertainers. I want people to know that. Entertainers can come here without being vaccinated and perform. I think it’s unfair.”
Since December, the team has allowed Irving to play away games in cities that don’t require players to be vaccinated. The NBA doesn’t require players to be vaccinated.
“I am really, really leery about sending the wrong message,” Adams added. “Having the city close down again keeps me up at night. And the message was put in place, the rule was put in place. To start changing it now I think would send mixed messages. So I’m struggling with this.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver agreed the rule is an “oddity” because it only applies to home players.
“I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays but the home player can’t,” he said. “To me, that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.”
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio created the rule and Adams has kept it in place, according to the Post.
Adams’ office didn’t immediately return Fox News’ overnight request for comment.