Kyrie Irving Defends Anti-Vaccine Stance: “It’s About The Freedom Of What I Want To Do”

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she…
kyrie irving
Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

On Wednesday in an Instagram Live, Kyrie Irving openly expressed his anti-vaccine stance. During the Live he shared, “I chose to be unvaccinated. And that was my choice. I would ask y’all just to respect that choice.”

Kyrie Irving has publicly released additional thoughts following the Brooklyn Nets’ announcement that he won’t be participating in games or practices if he remains unvaccinated.

Irving took to Instagram on Wednesday to air out his comments, particularly his logic behind not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. He stated that he’d like fans to respect his decision and also to not spread false narratives.

During the Live he shared:

“What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you have exemptions or that you didn’t have to be forced to get the vaccine?”

He went on to share the following, “This wasn’t something that I foresaw coming where I prepared for it and had a chance to strategize on what was going to be best for me and my family. I chose to be unvaccinated. And that was my choice… And I would ask y’all just to respect that choice.”

Irving added:

“I’m staying grounded in what I believe in. It’s not about being anti-vax or about being on one side or the other. It’s about being true to what feels good for me. I’m still uncertain about a lot of things. And that’s OK. If I’m going to be demonized about having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, then that’s just what it is.”

Back in August, New York City explicitly implemented new guidelines barring anyone over 12 years old from entering “covered premises” without proof of vaccination. If you’ve been aware of this bars, movie theaters and restaurants ask for vaccination cards to enter. The Brooklyn Nets arena is included as one of the establishments that are implementing the new guidelines.

Differing from Irving’s stance 95 percent of the NBA’s players have been vaccinated against COVID as of September 19, per People. Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications recently shared a statement noting players who are not vaccinated will not be paid for the games they miss due to their decision to not receive the vaccine.

According to an ESPN report, Irving could lose $17 million if he misses every game this season, yet in the Live, he stated his decision is not about money. “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?”

Irving later added, “It’s not about the Nets. It’s not about the organization. It’s not about the NBA. It’s not politics. It’s not any one thing that I’m pinpointing. It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”

Earlier this week Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks released a statement on Irving’s decision and expressed that though the organization respects it, he won’t be playing again until he is fully vaccinated.

The statement read:

“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”

Additionally, Marks shared the championship goals for the season have not changed and “to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction.”

Irving urged his fans to not believe that he’s walking away from the NBA for a vaccine mandate or “staying unvaccinated.”

Stay tuned as more news emerges.

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