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NYC to lift mandate, paving way for unvaccinated Nets, Yankees and Mets to play home games – USA TODAY

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New York City mayor Eric Adams plans to lift the private-sector vaccine mandate for professional athletes on Thursday, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports, paving the way for unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to play in home games and for unvaccinated New York Mets and Yankees players to also play in home games.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the mayor’s plans.

Irving has not played in home games or games at Madison Square Garden this season and has said he hopes the city drops the COVID-19 vaccine mandate before the Nets’ regular season ends on April 10.

Adams has praised the mandate, saying it has helped reduce COVID infections in the city and said earlier this week that athletes will have to wait their turn after announcing masks are now optional for day-care participants between the ages of 2 and 4.

“We’re going to make the right decision,” Adams said Wednesday. “And in New York, no matter what you do, this is 8.8 million people and 30 million opinions, so you’re never going to satisfy New Yorkers, so you must go with the logic, your heart and the science.”

The mandate has also received criticism, especially since opposing players who are not vaccinated can play in games in the city. Also, Irving was able to attend recent Nets’ games but not allowed to play.

If Adams drops the mandate this week, Irving would be eligible to play at Barclays Center, starting with Sunday’s home game against Charlotte. The Nets are on the road Wednesday and Saturday.

Last week, the mayor’s office confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that the mandate applied to all New York professional sports teams whose games are in the city, raising questions about which Yankees and Mets players would be sidelined. It now appears that won’t be an issue with opening day two weeks away.

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