Hundreds gathered outside the Barclays Center in support of Kyrie Irving, who recently came against the COVID-19 vaccine. Outside the team’s home arena, protesters were chanting “no vaccine mandate” and “stand with Kyrie” before a break-away group stormed the barricades, Twitter video shows.
The footage shows security personnel trying in vain to hold back the crowd but being quickly overwhelmed as a handful of protesters break through and make for the front doors.
The crowd shouted about “Nazi passports” and “Let Kyrie play,” and waved signs and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags as they gathered outside the arena.
A number of protestors are seen wearing “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts.
The unrest comes as the Nets played the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday — without Irving suited up.
There are no reports that protestors made it inside, and Barclays officials said they were forced to shut the front doors except to ticketholders.
“Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to clear protestors from the main doors on the plaza and ensure guests could safely enter the arena,” venue officials said in a statement.
“Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule,” the statement said.
Irving, the team’s All-Star point guard, has been barred from practicing with the team or playing home games for defying the team’s requirement that all players be vaccinated.
The NBA does not mandate the vaccines, but New York City does, and players in local sports venues are required to be inoculated to play.
Footage posted on Twitter shows hundreds of protesters descending on the Brooklyn arena earlier in the day.
“I have to stand up for me,” said one marcher, a city school teacher, told WPIX-TV. “I have to stand up for my son.”
Irving, 29, joined Brooklyn in 2019 and helped lead the team into the playoffs last season before missing playing time against the Milwaukee Bucks due to injury.
Before the start of this season, the team informed the point guard he would not be allowed to practice with the team or play at Barclays because of his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” the team said in a statement at the time.
“Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” the statement said.
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