A family birthday party is going to prove expensive for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. The NBA has fined him $50,000 for violating its COVID safety protocols after video emerged of him dancing maskless at the indoor gathering, reports ESPN. On top of that fine, Irving is expected to have to forfeit more than $800,000 in salary because of two missed games in an ensuing mandatory quarantine period, reports the New York Post. League rules bar players from attending indoor events with 15 people or more, as well as going to bars and restaurants. Irving is eligible to return to play Monday night, but that remains up in the air because of issues that go beyond the COVID penalty, notes the New York Times.
The video emerged during a period when Irving had backed away from the team for what has been described only as "personal reasons." He has not played since Jan. 5. “I don’t want to speculate and say why he’s out and so forth,” says Nets general manager Sean Marks said. “I’ve had conversations with him, and I’ll continue to have conversations, and I look forward to him being back in the gym and he will address this and we’ll sit down with him.” At Yahoo Sports, Ben Rohrbach takes note of public speculation that the 28-year-old Irving will retire. "These are wild times we are living in, and everyone deserves a break from them, including NBA players," he writes. (Read more NBA stories.)