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Kevin Durant issues statement after calling out NYC mayor over Kyrie Irving situation

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Nets forward Kevin Durant walked back some of his recent criticism of New York City mayor Eric Adams in a statement released by the team on Monday. 

“The last two years have been a difficult and painful time for New Yorkers, as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of the rules and mandates,” Durant said in the statement, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “I do appreciate the task the Mayor has in front of him with all the city has been through. My frustration with the situation doesn’t change the fact that I will always be committed to helping the communities and cities I live in and play in.”

Durant’s newest remarks come after he called out Adams following the Nets’ 110–107 win over the Knicks on Sunday. The star forward called the policy that allows Brooklyn point guard Kyrie Irving, who was in the building as a spectator, to attend games at Barclays Center as a fan but not as a player “ridiculous”, saying it’s something the mayor needs to “figure out.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Durant said. “I don’t understand it at all. There’s a few people in our arena that’s unvaxxed, right? They lifted all of that in our arena, right? So I don’t get it … I don’t get it. It just feels like at this point now, somebody’s trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. But everybody out here is looking for attention and that’s what I feel like the mayor wants right now, is some attention. But he’ll figure it out soon. He better.

“But it just didn’t make any sense. There’s unvaxxed people in this building already. We got a guy who can come in the building, I guess, are they fearing our safety? I don’t get it. We’re all confused. Pretty much everybody in the world is confused at this point. Early on in the season people didn’t understand what was going on, but now it just looks stupid. So hopefully, Eric, you got to figure this out.”

Adams lifted some of New York City’s restrictions on March 7, but Irving is still ineligible to play in Brooklyn home games because of a mandate that requires those who work for a New York-based business to be vaccinated. The Nets point guard has not played in Barclays Center this season. 

Adams has expressed his support for the Nets point guard but has made clear that he’s unwilling to make an exception for the NBA player. He doubled down on that stance during a Sunday press conference, saying that Irving could play “tomorrow” if he were to get vaccinated.

To make matters more complicated, the NBA fined the Nets $50,000 for “violating New York City law and league health and safety protocols” at Sunday’s game. The violation was the result of Irving entering Brooklyn’s locker room during the team’s win, which he is still not allowed to do. 

Irving has played in 18 games, all on the road, this season and is averaging 25.9 points, 5.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds per contest. The Nets are 35–33 on the year. 

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