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Kyrie Irving won't play for the Brooklyn Nets until vaccinated

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Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan breaks down the legal ramifcations from NBA player Kyrie Irving's decision not to be vaccinated.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPRIO: We're going to keep talking about all of this stuff, though, in a different context, because we want to bring in Alexis Keenan, who understands the legal world. And what Seana was just talking about-- I mean, we have Kyrie Irving not going to play practice until eligible under COVID-19 vaccination mandates. What standing does either side in this have on this going forward?

ALEXIS KEENAN: Hi, Adam. Yeah, so Kyrie Irving is not only not going to practice, he's not going to games. He is under New York City's local vaccine mandate. He is banned from the Barclays Center. So his general manager, Sean Marks, said that the ban will extend beyond those games. In a statement, he said that Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we do not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.

Now, just in the last hour, "The Athletic" published a report saying that Irving is not anti-vaccine. They say based on sources that he is just upset about people losing their jobs over these mandates and that he's taking a stand on their behalf. Now, basically, this New York Law, it prevents Irving from going to indoor gyms, indoor entertainment venues, as does it prevent every other person who wants to go to those facilities in New York City from doing so. All members of the public, Irving included, they need to have at least one dose in order to enter.

So I've been asking employment lawyers as well as constitutional lawyers if there's any path at all that would allow Irving to get stadium access while he remains unvaccinated if that is the case. They say not likely unless he raises the need to be granted an accommodation from the city or from the franchise. And those are those accommodations that we've been hearing about where employers, in some cases, do have to extend an accommodation for those who have a medical disability or a religious exemption that they ask for under Title VII.

But still, there's another question that is coming, and that's whether that federal mandate that's coming from OSHA that we're all expecting soon in the next coming weeks, whether that could impact this New York City rule. And again, the lawyers tell me the answer there is probably not, because under the US Constitution, those two laws don't necessarily have a direct conflict. So in other words, anybody could comply with both of those laws. They're not mutually exclusive.

So a lot to come in the sporting world. Certainly, this could pose a problem for Irving or other players that don't want to get vaccinated to not be able to participate not only in home games in the case of New York City, but also across the US in those away games as they start traveling. Adam and Seana.

ADAM SHAPRIO: Alexis, thank you.