NEW YORK – A group of protesters gathered outside the Barclays Center waving flags and signs as they shouted, “No vaccine mandate, I support Kyrie” before the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.
About 100 people stood in the plaza outside the arena and on the street blocking traffic on Flatbush Avenue, many of whom showed support for Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s decision not to receive at least one vaccine. to fulfill the mandate of the city of New York to power the parties at home.
The scene outside Barclays Center where a group of protesters chant, “No vaccine mandate, Stand with Kyrie.” Several hold “Stand with Kyrie” signs. This is the Nets’ home opener. Kyrie Irving will be away from team until he complies with NYC vaccine mandate. pic.twitter.com/833DqYOLf7
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 24, 2021
At one point, some of the protesters pushed down barriers and reached the main entrance to Barclays before being stopped by security. There was also a lot of police presence in front of Barclays.
“The Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to clear protesters from the plaza’s main gates and ensure that guests can safely enter the arena,” a Barclays Center spokesperson said in a statement. “Only ticketed guests were allowed into the building and the game went according to schedule.”
Irving hasn’t played in any of the Nets’ three games as of yet after the organization decided that his point guard was not a part-time player capable of playing only away games. The Nets have said they will welcome Irving once he fulfills the city’s mandate.
The group of protesters, some with megaphones, chanted “My body, my choice” and held up signs that read “I support Kyrie.” The arena wasn’t even half full at the start of the afternoon game and there were lines of fans outside the building.
During an Instagram Live session, Irving explained his decision to remain unvaccinated nearly two weeks ago.
“I chose not to be vaccinated, and that was my choice, and I ask everyone to just respect that choice,” Irving said. “I’m going to continue to stay fit, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and be a part of all of this. This is not a political issue; this is not about the NBA, this is not about any organization. It’s about my life and what I choose to do, “he said.