2021-10-14 18:48:01 NBA’s Kyrie Irving defends decision to not get COVID vaccine | Basketball News
NBA’s Kyrie Irving defends decision to not get COVID vaccine | Basketball News
Kyrie Irving, the All-Star guard for the Brooklyn Nets, has defended his decision not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as “what’s best” for him, after team officials said he would not be allowed to practice or play with the team unless he was immunized.
The Nets announced earlier this week that Irving, 29, would not be able to “be a full participant” until he is able to “be a full participant.”
He is ineligible to play in Nets home games in New York City, where a state mandate requires professional athletes on one of the city’s teams to be vaccinated in order to practice or play in public places.
Irving said on Instagram Live on Wednesday that he loved basketball and would not retire.
“I’m doing what I think is best for me.” “I’m aware of the consequences here, and if that means being judged and demonized for it, so be it,” he said. “That’s the role I play, but I’ve never wanted to sacrifice my passion, my love, or my dream for the sake of this mandate.”
Irving could have practiced with the Nets and played in road games outside of New York. The Nets will compensate him for those, but he will forfeit roughly half of his $35 million salary by missing the home games.
“What does it matter?” “It’s not about money,” Irving explained. “It isn’t always about money. It’s all about deciding what’s best for you. “Do you really believe I want to lose money?”
“Do you really believe I want to lose money?” Do you really believe I’m willing to abandon my desire to compete for a championship? Do you think I just want to quit my job? You think I just want to stay at home and not go after things with my teammates…”
– Kyrie https://t.co/gV6BDK357j
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) 10/14/2021
His remarks come amid ongoing concerns about the spread of the Delta variant and widespread vaccine apprehension among Americans. In recent weeks, local officials and President Joe Biden’s administration have responded with vaccine mandates.
The Biden administration stated on Wednesday that the mandates are effective.
Officials said at a White House press briefing that vaccination rates have risen by more than 20 percentage points since multiple institutions implemented vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus have decreased.
Officials reported that 77 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one vaccination to date, and that rates have risen as a result of mandates enacted by private businesses, healthcare systems, social institutions, and state and local governments.
However, vaccine resistance persists, and institutions have imposed restrictions on those who refuse to be vaccinated.
NBA players who have not been vaccinated will face a slew of restrictions if they want to play in the upcoming season, which begins on October 19.
Irving stated on Wednesday that his ultimate decision on getting vaccinated would have nothing to do with the Nets or the New York mandate. “This isn’t about the Nets, it’s not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, and it’s not about politics,” he explained.
“It isn’t just one thing. It’s all about the freedom to do whatever I want.”
Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets, left, watches as Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum attempts a free throw. [Image courtesy of Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports]
If he does not play this season, he could lose more than $17 million in pay for games played in Brooklyn and at Madison Square Garden.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement announcing Irving’s inability to play with the team on Tuesday.
“At the moment, his choice limits his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not allow any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” Marks explained.
Irving, along with stars Kevin Durant and James Harden, is considered an NBA championship contender for the Brooklyn Nets.
On Wednesday, Harden stated that he and Durant met with the personnel involved in the Irving decision and that all parties agreed.
“Kyrie believes in what he believes, and he stands firm and strong in that belief.” And we, for one, respect it. Ky is adored by everyone. But, as for us, we have a job to do,” he explained.
Nets coach Steve Nash also stated that the decision was “difficult,” but that it is “sound and makes complete sense to everyone.”
“We’re just going to move on,” Nash said, “and if things change, it would be incredible to have him back in the fold.” “Having a player come in and out like that was a risky situation.” There’s more clarity now, and we can concentrate on the future and get moving.”