NEW YORK -- Protesters gathered at Barclays Center waving signs and flags, while chanting "No vaccine mandate, stand by Kyrie" just before Sunday's Brooklyn Nets home opener against Charlotte Hornets.
Nearly 100 people gathered in the Plaza outside the arena, blocking Flatbush Avenue traffic. Many were there to support Kyrie Irving, Nets point guard, for refusing to receive at least one vaccine shot in New York City's mandate to allow him to play home games.
A few protesters managed to push barriers and get to Barclays' front door before security stopped them. Barclays was also surrounded by cops.
"Barclays Center temporarily closed its doors today to clear protestors off the main plaza doors and ensure that guests could safely enter the arena," a spokesperson for the Barclays Center said in a statement. Only ticketed guests were allowed to enter the building, and the game went according to plan.
Irving has not participated in any of the Nets’ three games so far. This is because the Nets decided not to allow its point guard to only play in road games. Irving will be welcomed back by the Nets if he follows the city's mandate.
Some demonstrators carried megaphones and chanted "My Body, My Choice" while others held signs reading "Stand With Kyrie." At the beginning of the afternoon game, the arena was only half full and lines of people waited outside.
Irving spoke out about his decision to not get vaccinated almost two weeks ago during an Instagram Live session.
Irving stated, "I made the decision to not get vaccinated. That was my choice. I ask that you all respect that choice." I will continue to keep fit, stay healthy, and be available to play with my teammates. This isn't a political issue; it isn't about the NBA or any other organization. It is about me and the things I choose to do with my life.