Fans back Irving over vaccine mandate

Coronavirus Vaccine

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Demonstrators supporting Nets guard Kyrie Irving and protesting New York’s vaccine mandate gathered outside Barclays Center before Brooklyn’s home opener this weekend.

A few dozen people were in the plaza outside the arena, some chanting “Let Kyrie play! Let Kyrie play!” and holding signs that said “Stand with Kyrie.”

A small group even broke through barriers and got all the way to the front entrance of the building, forcing arena officials to briefly close the doors while fans were trying to get in.

Irving is not with the Nets because of his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19. A New York mandate requires professional athletes playing for a team in the city be vaccinated in order to play or practice in public venues.

Stefon Marbury, a former NBA guard now coaching in China, said players appreciate the right to choose what they put into their body.

“This is his decision as far as how he feels,” Marbury said on “The Donlon Report” on Monday. “I think people should respect how he feels about what he’s going to do with his body.”

The Nets could have allowed Irving to play in road games, but they decided he wouldn’t be with the team until he could be a full participant. Irving explained during an Instagram Live post that he was doing “what’s best for me.”

The fight over vaccine mandates is happening across the country.

In Chicago, members of the city’s largest police union are rallying behind a proposed ordinance that would effectively repeal the city’s employee vaccine mandate.

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said about two dozen officers are on no-pay status because they refuse to submit their vaccine status to the city. 

“Let’s hope enough aldermen do the right thing on Monday so this vaccine policy gets reset and negotiated like it should have been,” Catanzara said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants unvaccinated police officers to move to his state. DeSantis told Fox News he’s working on $5,000 bonuses for officers to relocate.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WGN contributed to this report.

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