New York City mayor Eric Adams appeared at Citi Field Thursday morning to do two of the things he does best: cater to the city’s elite and tease out extended metaphors that don’t really work. Announcing an end to New York’s citywide vaccine mandate for athletes and performers, Adams declared, “Some will boo us, others will cheer us — that is not only a game of baseball, but that’s the game of life, and we have to be on the field in order to win.”
The loudest of those boos came from the Police Benevolent Association, the biggest NYPD union, which claims the vaccine mandate for city-employed workers violates its members’ constitutional rights. On Thursday, the PBA debuted a new argument many saw coming: Why should cops be treated differently than Brooklyn Nets star and anti-vaxxer Kyrie Irving, who will get to play home games in April?
“We have been suing the city for months over its arbitrary and capricious vaccine mandate — this is exactly what we are talking about,” PBA president Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “If the mandate isn’t necessary for famous people, then it’s not necessary for the cops who are protecting our city in the middle of a crime crisis.”
Harry Nespoli, the president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, felt similarly: “There can’t be one system for the elite and another for the essential workers of our city.” Jay Varma, a key member of former mayor Bill de Blasio’s COVID-response team, tweeted: “#VaccinesWork … unless you’re rich and powerful, in which case, #LobbyingWorks.”
While Adams claimed Thursday that he was “not lobbied on this issue,” public records show that the Brooklyn Nets paid former City Council speaker Corey Johnson to do just that.
Adams, as usual, brushed away the criticism. “I was not elected to be fearful but to be fearless,” he said.