In the aftermath of police not being charged for shooting Jacob Blake and pro-Donald Trump rioters storming the U.S. Capitol, Kyrie Irving missed a Nets game in what was reportedly a mental-health day.
Irving has remained out. While away from the team, video emerged of him mask-less at what appeared to be an indoor birthday party for his sister Asia.
Rob Perez of The Action Network:
(one quick correction: Mr. Irving’s birthday is January 11th, not January 12th)
— Sherwob Holmes (@WorldWideWob) January 12, 2021
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Irving has missed four consecutive games for personal reasons, been ruled out tonight vs. Denver and sources expect him to continue to be sidelined at least through Wednesday (Knicks) and Saturday (Orlando) games. https://t.co/cPemTB0eHi
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
There is a fine line between Irving taking the space he needs for his mental health and Irving doing whatever he can get away with. From the outside, it’s practically impossible to tell the difference.
For someone who’s unvaccinated and doesn’t have antibodies, spending a long time mask-less indoors with an untested crowd is high risk for coronavirus. The NBA should investigate Irving’s behavior and – for the safety of everyone he’d come into contact with – restrict his return to the team accordingly. Of course, that’d mean Irving’s absence could last even longer.
But he has shown no indication that bothers him.