NBA star Kyrie Irving spoke out against New York City’s lingering vaccine mandate after reports indicated Mayor Eric Adams would lift the requirements for private employers but not for city workers.
“If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired,” the Brooklyn Nets star tweeted Tuesday.
“This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history,” he added.
— A11Even (@A11Even)
Irving, who is unvaccinated, has been permitted to play for the Nets at Barclays Center since March when Adams created an exemption to New York’s vaccine mandate for professional athletes and performers. The exemption was added after Irving was forced to watch his teammates play from the sidelines because the city’s vaccine rules prohibited him from playing but allowed him to sit in the arena. Critics blasted the health ordinance for lacking common sense.
On Tuesday, Adams announced that the strictest-in-the-nation COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses and student athletes imposed by his predecessor Bill de Blasio would end on Nov. 1. However, the vaccine rules will remain in place for municipal employees.
“Our vaccinated workforce kept the city open and operating, with over 300,000 employees it was crucial to put it in place and we’re keeping it in place,” Adams said, according to WNBC-TV. “Our vaccinated workers have carried out their jobs and stepped up when the city needed them the most and we think it’s imperative to send the right message and lead by example.”
Observing that 89% of New Yorkers have been vaccinated, including children, the mayor said it was time to give schools, parents, and businesses more flexibility by lifting the vaccine requirements.
New York will continue to recommend that residents get booster shots and COVID-19 vaccinations.
“The rollout has been important and crucial and because we’ve been so successful, it’s time to move on to the next level of fortifying our city,” Adams said as he got the latest COVID booster at city hall. “This puts the choice in the hands of New Yorkers. It’s imperative we’re asking them to continue to encourage their employees to get their vaccines and booster shots.”
New York City’s vaccine requirements have resulted in more than 1,500 municipal workers getting fired for refusing to comply. There is no telling how many private sector employees lost their jobs after refusing to get vaccinated.
NYPD officers blasted the mayor Tuesday for creating a double standard with vaccine rules.
“This announcement is more proof that the vaccine mandate for New York City police officers is arbitrary, capricious, and fundamentally irrational,” said Pat Lynch, the head of the Police Benevolent Association.
“Now that the city has abandoned any pretense of a public health justification for vaccine mandates, we expect it to settle our pending lawsuits and reinstate with back pay our members who unjustly lost their jobs,” Lynch added.
The mayor’s announcement follows New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) lifting the statewide mass transit mask mandate and other pandemic restrictions on MTA buses and subways. It also comes after President Joe Biden declared the coronavirus pandemic “over” in an interview with CBS News over the weekend.