Kyrie Irving isn’t playing for the Nets this season until something changes regarding his vaccination status or the New York City vaccine mandate. While unvaccinated, he’s unable to play in home games in Brooklyn and the Nets announced earlier this week that they would not accommodate him as a part-time player and would move forward without him as part of the team — but he would only be missing out on game checks for the home games he’s ineligible for.
Up until Wednesday, Irving hadn’t spoken about his status, choosing to cite his “privacy” at media day when his vaccine status was brought up, despite the obvious nature of the situation given he was the lone Nets player not at the facility and doing media day over Zoom. However, the obvious has been officially stated now, and on Wednesday night Irving went on Instagram Live to talk about his situation. Irving talked for a considerable amount of time, but never offered any real explanations for his stance beyond saying it was what is best for him and asking people to respect that.
The most notable thing he said he was that he wasn’t retiring and wanted to be playing this season, but also said his decision was bigger than basketball and he was doing this for people who had lost their job due to vaccine mandates.
Kyrie Irving address his stance on not getting the vaccine on IG Live: “It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money? You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship? You think I really just want to give up my job?” pic.twitter.com/cYHCWGbnCo
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 14, 2021
The full transcript of his closing to the IG Live is certainly a lot of words that don’t do an awful lot to provide a reasoning for why he’s not getting vaccinated.
well, here’s kyrie irving’s closing statement pic.twitter.com/SNSI8JKTei
— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) October 14, 2021
The most confusing part of all of this is that Irving claims he wants to be a voice for the voiceless, but refuses to actually explain his position and reasoning behind it. All he says is that he’s standing with those who chose not to get the vaccine and lost their job, as if that’s a cause that requires someone to bring great awareness to — while also insisting he isn’t anti-vax and respects those who get the vaccine.
He is at once trying to be provocative and trying to be all-encompassing on an issue that for the vast majority of people isn’t even debatable, given that it is a public health crisis. Irving insists that he hasn’t “hurt anybody,” but when it comes to this situation, personal choices regarding the vaccine can, in fact, have a significant impact on others — particularly those who have legitimate health reasons and pre-existing conditions that prevent them from being able to get the vaccine.