Kyrie Irving is getting a lot of flack for his decision to not get the vaccine. As a result of this, he is currently being benched by the Brooklyn Nets. A lot of people are speaking out both in his defense and against him. Irving has also spoken out on his own behalf, asking for respect while he sorts out what he wants to do. “I had to stop running away from using my voice and my platform to speak on what’s true and what’s mine. Nobody is going to hijack my voice. Nobody is going to take the power away from me that I have for speaking on these things.” The NBA player then went on to shutdown any retirement rumors.
Kyrie Irving speaks pic.twitter.com/So7qwh1r2f— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 14, 2021
It was announced this week that Kyrie would have to sit out all home games in the state of New York for the time being thanks to the New York mandate, which requires “everyone to have at least one dose of the vaccine in order to go to restaurants, bars, and in the case of NBA players, use indoor gyms which include Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, the home of the Knicks and Nets, respectively.” Unfortunately, this issue will extend far outside of New York however. Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said, “Irving won’t be permitted to practice with the team or play in road games until he is a ‘full participant’ and eligible under New York City’s local mandate. “
This is particularly troubling as Kyrie just signed a pretty large contract to extend his deal, and now he’s at risk of losing a lot of money. Kyrie stated in an IG post that he was made promises prior to the season that NBA is no longer standing by. He feels he was lied to and being forced to do something against his will. “Just use logic. You know, what would you do? You know, 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. You know, this wasn’t an issue before the season started. This wasn’t something that I foresaw coming in where I prepared for it and I had a chance to strategize on what was going to be best for me and my family.”
A lot of people sympathize with Kyrie and have been speaking out in support of him. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a Congresswoman for Georgia’s 14th CD. She spoke out in one of the most controversial displays of support, stating “The fascist NBA won’t let Kyrie Irving play for refusing a vaccine. But yet they still let Magic Johnson play with HIV.” The apparent issue being her comparing two viruses that are completely different, but some people still backed her saying that at the time, people did not know how illness was spread.
Greene is known for being a controversial figure in politics who in the past has tried to downplay the pandemic and virus by saying “We’re human, we can’t live forever.” She’s defended herself saying “Again, I’m not anti-vax. I’m completely for people being allowed to make choices.”
Uncle Luke also gave Kyrie some controversial support. He felt that if women have the right to choose what happens with their bodies, why are Kyrie’s right not to be vaccinated being policed? “If women have the right to choose what to do with their bodies why can’t Kyrie ?” Other NBA players chimed in with more logical support. Kevin Durant released a statement supporting his fellow basketball player. His stance seemed to be that both Kyrie and the NBA are fully within their rights to their choices, and he supports everyone and looks forward to being able to play as a team soon. “Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do, and he chose to do what he wanted to do and the team did the same. You know, it’s on me to just focus on me and do my job and let those two parties handle that situation.”
Chance the Rapper was one of the many people tuned into Kyrie’s live when he made his statement regarding the matter. The Chicago MC posted a bunch of 100% emojis signaling his support of Kyrie. ESPN’s Jay Williams got some nasty blowback for supporting Kyrie. He said in his own video that people sent him threats for defending Kyrie’s decision to do what he wants. “Kyrie Irving doesn’t owe you anything. He doesn’t owe you a response on your timeline. He doesn’t owe you answers that you feel like you need” he told his followers.