So Kyrie Irving decided to play the long game in this surreal hand of poker with two New York City mayors, and it turns out he really did draw to the inside straight he’s been waiting for five months . Turns out he can play basketball games for the Nets at Barclays Center, just in time for the playoffs.
It turns out the Yankees and Mets, who were told last week that their eligibility to play in the Bronx and Queens could be jeopardized if they remain unvaccinated, will get a similar reprieve with plenty of time. to lose before opening day. And if you’re a comedian, guitarist, or actor, you can also return to work within the city limits.
You may read and wonder what this means for the cops, firefighters and other city workers who have taken similar stances in recent months, those who have lost their jobs, those who are now seeing multimillionaire artists and athletes spared a similar burden. The debate about their fate and their future is just as important.
In truth, it is more important.
Here we reserved judgment on Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated as well as New York’s persistent refusal to grant him a waiver because, frankly, as long as it was the law, it was fair to enforce even famous New Yorkers – even after it’s reached a proper expiration date, as it probably did a few months ago.
It will be up to Mayor Eric Adams to properly explain the separate standards for celebrities and civilians, and it will be interesting to see how he handles that gauntlet.
When it comes to New York sports, however, as long as we keep the context strictly between foul lines and baselines, it will be a game-changer. The Nets may still be a step away from a sustained championship run, but they also know now that they will have two of the game’s top 20 players – Irving and Kevin Durant – by their side as they enter the playoffs. And it’s a very good place to be.
The Yankees and the Mets? Well, we were still a little fuzzy about who was really vaccinated and who wasn’t, and so it was hard to figure out who would be affected until they collided with the vaccine mandate on April 7 (Opening Day at Yankee Stadium) and April 15 (Mets home opener at Citi Field).
The Yankees will likely still have to grapple with those questions when they make at least the first of their three trips to Toronto — where a vaccination mandate remains in place — which won’t happen until May 2. They will take care of it when they have to. They’ll field a full squad – barring injury, of course – until then. (The Mets are not playing in Canada this year.)
This is all good news for New York sports fans and better news for athletes. It also probably proves that for all the public forum success that baseball has taken in recent weeks and months to be disconnected, to be too old and creaky, to be too slow, baseball still dominates, at least in New York City.
Don’t get me wrong, no matter what Adams says: unless the looming specter of baseball season is deeply affected, it won’t happen. Irving is the one who symbolized dissent for tenure rule, and getting him back full-time is the best news to hit the Nets all year. But the baseball pushed the domino.
And so sport will look like sport here, again, for real, for the first time since March 12, 2020. There are no more restrictions on stadiums or arenas, almost no more masks in these stands , and Kyrie Irving will be allowed to break his ankles on a basketball court as New York baseball players chase after the long summer. Nice story.
Although, you might want to check with those cops, firefighters, and city workers before declaring a happy ending.