Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets player, is not expected to return to the court for this week’s lineup.
This will be his fourth straight game that he is missing due to “personal reasons.” He will be missing tonight’s game against Denver, as well as Wednesday’s game against New York and Saturday’s against Orlando.
Videos Emerge of Kyrie Irving Partying Maskless
Now, the NBA has acquired viral videos of Irving out partying with no mask on. The video is believed to be him celebrating his sister’s birthday party.
In the viral video, Irving is seen dancing with his sister, Asia. The video shows a crowded, dark bar or club with a bustling crowd of well over 30 people.
According to ESPN, sources are still working to confirm if the video is recent or not. If it is, Kyrie Irving will be facing major consequences from the league.
The very maskless athlete is breaching almost all of the COVID-19 protocols the NBA has in place to protect players and allow for the sport to be played during these dangerous times. The guidelines enforce that players cannot go to bars or clubs and that attending gatherings of more than 15 people is strictly prohibited.
Several of his teammates, as well as individuals involved in the NBA, have been responding to Irving’s absence and the circulating video.
Fans and Commentators React
Bobby Marks, the NBA Front Office Insider for ESPN, said on Twitter that, “I am sensitive to the Kyrie Irving situation and his privacy especially that nobody knows for sure (I’m not playing the guessing game until he speaks) on why he is not playing. However, eventually this will need to get resolved and Irving is going to need to show up for work.”
Additionally, Adrian Wojnarowski, an NBA insider for ESPN, also responded to state the NBA’s involvement so far. He said, “Sources with @Malika_Andrews: As the NBA is expected to begin examining online videos circulating of a maskless Kyrie Irving at a family birthday party, there’s no belief that he will return to the Brooklyn Nets lineup this week.”
Strict NBA COVID-19 Regulations
Kyrie Irving is not the only NBA player to face consequences for breaking COVID-19 protocol. According to Sports Illustrated, Rockets guard, James Harden, was fined $50,000 for being maskless at a Christmas party in Houston. He had to test negative four times before returning to the court.
It is still unclear as to why Irving has been out for so long or when he plans to return. He has alluded to mental health issues. However, these videos surfacing could add a whole new level of drama and consequence to the player’s career. If the videos are discovered to be recent, it will result in a fine and likely even more time off the court.
The NBA is being particularly strict with COVID-19 rules because of the increasing number of cases and deaths in the U.S. Also, if players and families contract the disease it can be deadly for their lives and their careers. According to CBS Sports, in the last week of November, there were 48 players who tested positive.
Orlando Magic player, Mo Bamba, is still dealing with the side effects of COVID-19, despite having it all the way back in June.
Some fans are calling for the season to be put on pause or instead moved to safer regional bubbles.
The Mets are currently 5-6 and standing at No.10 on the Eastern Conference rankings. They are playing the Denver Nuggets at 6:30 p.m. tonight.