Kyrie Irving has broken his silence on the Brooklyn Nets refusing to include him in team activities until he is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The professional basketball player spoke out about their decision and made some general statements regarding vaccine mandates during an Instagram Live session.
On Oct. 12, the Nets issued a statement announcing that they would be preventing Kyrie Irving from playing or practicing with his team due to his alleged refusal to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine. “Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” said the team’s General Manager Sean Marks.
He addressed rumors that have been circulating that he intends to retire from the sport altogether as a result of vaccination mandates. He has been openly criticized for refusing to get vaccinated by sport casters including Stephen A. Smith.
“Don’t believe that I’m retiring,” he said. “Don’t believe that I’mma give up this game for a vaccine mandate or staying unvaccinated. Don’t believe any of that sh*t, really be aware of what’s being said before I even get a chance to be on the podium and speak for myself. All these people saying all things that’s going on with me and it’s just not true. ”
“People are losing their jobs with these mandates, people are having to make choices with their own lives which I respect,” Irving added.
Golden State Warriors player Andrew Wiggins haas been benched as a result of a vaccine mandate as well. “The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’s request for religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all participants age 12 and older at large indoor events. Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements,” the National Basketball Association said in a statement.
“What would you do?” Irving asked the 100,000 viewers. “What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you would have exemptions or that you didn’t have to be forced to get the vaccine,” he continued.
“It’s reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on the team I have to be vaccinated,” he said at another point. “I chose to be unvaccinated. And that was my choice. And I would ask y’all just to respect that choice.”
Irving implied that he was assured his choice would not affect his job prior to the onset of the season.
“This wasn’t an issue before the season started. This wasn’t something I foresaw coming where I prepared for it.”