Reactions Mixed as Unvaccinated Nets Star Kyrie Irving Expected to Play vs. Warriors

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

Bay Area sports fans are required to show proof of vaccination to get into the Chase Center to see the Golden State Warriors in action.

But on Saturday, when the visiting Brooklyn Nets hit the court against the Warriors, Nets player Kyrie Irving won't have to play by the same rules. He's not vaccinated, but he can still play as long as he tests negative for COVID-19.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney said the exemption doesn't seem fair.

“New York has standards that forbid him from playing. Why would we have different set of standards to create exception when our firefighters, our bus drivers, small businesses don't get exception,” he said.

Hometeam players are required to be vaccinated but San Francisco’s health order said that visiting players are not required to do so. Officials said that "they must remain at least six feet from members of the public at all times during the event, provide a proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day for antigen tests or two days for PCR tests. Prior to entry into the facility or venue and wear a well-fitted mask at all times except while actively performing or playing."

Officials said the reason for the exemption is that visiting players are, by definition, present in the venue only occasionally and as a result present a lower risk of transmission because they have fewer contacts with others.

Fans at Thursday’s Warriors game had mixed reaction.

“A lot of people around the world have lost a lot of people. I think it's a moral obligation for athletes that get paid a lot of money," said Joe Owolabi.

The health department said when Irving leaves the Chase Center Saturday, the COVID rules that apply to everyone in San Francisco will also apply him.

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