New York (AFP)

The ax finally fell: in a hurry from all sides to get vaccinated and thus be allowed to play at home, Brooklyn basketball player Kyrie Irving found himself ostracized by his club on Tuesday, banned from training or playing ... unless you resign yourself to receiving her injections.

The Brooklyn Nets point guard has been in the hot seat since New York City introduced new health safety protocols preventing unvaccinated adults from taking part in training or matches.

"Kyrie has made a personal choice and we respect that choice," Sean Marks, the club's general manager, said in a statement, but cautioned, "We will not allow any member of our team to be only partially available. "

"Our goal to be crowned champions this season remains unchanged and to achieve it, each member (...) must push in the same direction", summarizes Sean Marks.

The announcement represents the culmination of the conflict between the American professional basketball league, the NBA, and the approximately 5% of players refusing immunization against Covid-19.

The League, which initially considered making vaccination compulsory, finally gave up when the players' union (NBPA) refused at a meeting held in August.

Since then, the authorities of American basketball have been pushing by other means, in particular an extremely strict health protocol for the unvaccinated (daily tests, meals alone, outings and very limited interactions), who are gradually being convinced.

- Calls for vaccination -

Andrew Wiggins, a vaccine-recalcitrant winger for the San Francisco-based franchise Golden State Warriors, which has restrictions similar to New York's, has finally been vaccinated, his club announced in early October.

Kyrie Irving supports his team from the bench during a preseason game against the Lakers on October 2, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif. KEVORK DJANSEZIAN GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / Archives

The Lakers superstar LeBron James, a time "very skeptical", also received his doses, however refusing to call for vaccination.

"I don't think I should get involved in what people do for their bodies," he said at the end of September.

Calls for compulsory vaccination are flooding in, however, such as that expressed vehemently by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend, saying that "a player should imperatively submit to it otherwise he would have to be withdrawn from the team".

Of which act at the Brooklyn Nets.

And Kyrie Irving could well miss the start of the NBA season, which opens with a shock between his team and the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks, if he does not rectify his situation by then.

And if he persists, he'll be missing the entire season, along with millions of dollars in salary - a whopping $ 380,000 per game, according to sports channel ESPN.

The leader of the Brooklyn Nets, who had not officially reacted Tuesday, said at the end of September that he wanted to avoid "causing more distractions and more mess" for his team.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Kyrie Irving had shared social media posts from a conspiracy theorist claiming that "secret societies plant vaccine to connect black people to a large computer as part of a plan by Satan."

The one who refuses to confirm his vaccination status, which he wishes to keep "in the private sphere", cracked a tweet on Saturday: "I am protected by God and my relatives are too. We are together."

Protection that the Nets apparently deemed insufficient.

vgr-burx / led

© 2021 AFP

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