October 24 (Reuters) – Protesters climbed barricades and pushed towards the gates of the Brooklyn Nets arena on Sunday to support NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving, who cannot join the team because he chose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Videos that surfaced online showed protesters outside the arena ahead of the Nets’ first home game of the 2021-22 NBA season chanting “Let Kyrie play” while some held “Stand with Kyrie” signs “.
Security had to lock down Barclays Center at one point, preventing some fans from entering, but the game against the Charlotte Hornets started on time at 4:00 p.m. ET (2000 GMT).
“The Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to keep protesters away from the main gates in the square and to ensure that guests can safely enter the arena,” a spokesperson for the arena in a statement provided to Reuters.
“Only guests with a ticket were able to enter the building and the game went as planned.”
The NBA does not require players to be vaccinated, but Irving is not eligible to play in home games due to coronavirus regulations in New York City.
The Nets announced ahead of the current season that Irving, a seven-time All-Star who joined Brooklyn in 2019 after stints with Cleveland and Boston, would not play or train with the team until he was released. ‘he is eligible to be a full participant.
“Kyrie made a personal choice, and we respect her individual right to choose,” the Nets said at the time.
“Currently, the choice restricts her ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not allow any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”
Report by Frank Pingue in Toronto, edited by Pritha Sarkar and Christian Radnedge
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.