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Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving addresses his unvaccinated status via Instagram Live

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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If there’s one person who has dominated sports headlines, it is Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving! This past Tuesday, the Nets announced that Irving will not be permitted to play in any games or to practice with the team this season, until he gets vaccinated. This combination of circumstances have placed the former NBA champion in quite a bit of controversy:

  1. New York City’s vaccine mandate requires at least one dose of the vaccine in order to go inside bars, restaurants, and indoor gyms (including the Nets Barclays Center home arena)
  1. Irving is currently unvaccinated, and reportedly has no plans of taking it

These circumstances restrict Irving from playing in Nets’ home games, and the organization themselves decided to rule him out for road games and practices as well. On Wednesday night, Irving took to Instagram live to give his thoughts: 

A few quotes from his Instagram live stood out:

Why he’s not vaccinated:

I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is. That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.

On potentially losing $19 million due to missed home games:

So what? It’s not about the money. It’s not always about the money. It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money?

On if he will retire:

No, I’m not retiring and no I’m not going and leaving this game like this. There’s still so much more work to do and there still so many other (youngsters) to inspire, because I know they want to be better than me.

Overall, Irving maintained that he is not actually “anti-vaxx,” but feels that everyone should respect each other’s choices. He also emphasized his support of all those who lost their jobs due to the recent mandates, and that he will  be the “voice of the voiceless.”

Entering this season, the Brooklyn Nets were considered heavy favorites to win the 2022 title. Without Irving, much more responsibility will be placed on the shoulders of Kevin Durant and James Harden. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out.