COVID-19 Vaccines Are A Must For Athletes Playing For New York City Teams

The city still has a strict COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Kyrie Irving is still not playing any home games for the Brooklyn Nets this season and road games at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden because he refuses to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Now members of the New York Mets and New York Yankees Major League Baseball teams who are unvaccinated may not be able to play in New York City. The Yankees and Mets have 81 home games each and the two teams play one another four times in Queens and in the Bronx. That means unvaccinated players could miss 83 games unless New York City Mayor Eric Adams makes a change to a public health safety law. Adams has lifted some of New York City’s restrictions but Irving cannot play any of Brooklyn’s home games or road games at Madison Square Garden because of a mandate that requires those who work for a New York-based business to be vaccinated. The oddity in the law is that visiting teams can use non-vaccinated players in Brooklyn and in Manhattan and that is baffling to National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver and also presents an unspoken problem, are Brooklyn Nets games bona fide competition as Irving cannot play due to a New York City mandate.

The New York Yankees baseball team could have another problem. Major League Baseball players who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be able to enter Canada to play games because of that country’s current coronavirus restrictions. New York is scheduled to play nine games in Toronto which means at this point a non-vaccinated Yankees player could miss 92 of the club’s 162 game schedule. Canadian border rules don’t allow unvaccinated foreign visitors to enter the country without special exemptions. The unvaccinated special status for athletes, which gave them permission to enter Canada in 2021, expired in January, COVID-19 problems are not going away.

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Mayoral candidate Eric Adams mingles with supporters during his election night party, late Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in New York. Adams has won the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City. Adams triumphed over a large field in New York’s first major race to use ranked choice voting. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)