Kyrie Irving was alone. The face of the NBA’s most famous vaccination skeptic kept disappearing into the shadows under the baseball cap when he announced himself from exile. The message from the Brooklyn Nets basketball superstar quickly became clear in the Instagram livestream: No, Irving will probably not be vaccinated in the foreseeable future.
And no, resigning is not an option either. “I’ll keep staying in shape,” said Irving, “I’ll be ready to rock with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing. Do not think that I will give up this game for a compulsory vaccination. “
The Nets announced on Tuesday that the development player would be excluded from team activities for the time being because he is still not ready for a vaccination against the corona virus. The 29-year-old, who is missing from Master Milwaukee Bucks for the league opener on Wednesday night (1.30 a.m. CEST), will probably lose millions in income. “It’s not about a political thing, not about the NBA, not about any organization,” said Irving. “I do what is best for me. I know the consequences and if that means that I will be judged and demonized for it, then that’s the way it is. It’s about my life and what I decide. “
In New York only vaccinated gyms are allowed to enter, which is why Irving could not have played home games for the Nets. Only using him away was out of the question for the club. Brooklyn General Manager Sean Marks, while emphasizing Irving’s right to his decision, also said, “However, this decision currently limits his ability to be a full member of the team.”
95 percent of NBA professionals vaccinated
It is the next level of escalation in a conflict that has been smoldering for weeks. At the end of September, Irving had announced that he wanted to “keep his vaccination status private” and it sparked a big discussion. Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar even demanded that unvaccinated professionals should be “removed” from the team. Michael Jordan expressed himself a little more diplomatically and praised the league’s health protocol, which provides for pay cuts for professionals who miss games because they are not vaccinated. “I totally agree with the league,” Jordan told NBC on Monday: “I think everyone was talking about vaccinations. I firmly believe in science and I will stick to it. “
95 percent of the players are currently vaccinated, and only the function team is required to do so. Apostates like Irving are the result. That one now has to bear the consequences, but also tried to explain himself. He does not see himself as a classic vaccine opponent.
Irving himself says he is “still unsure of many things”. It is not about being fundamentally against vaccinations. Rather, he must feel what is good for him. “This is my life,” said Irving, “I can do what I want with it. It’s my body. “
However, he is only allowed to train and play with the Nets again if he has received at least one dose of vaccine or New York changes the rules. Irving could lose $ 17 million, according to ESPN information, but is unlikely to give way. Just last weekend Irving tweeted meaningfully: “I am protected by God and my people. We stand together.”
This is not the first time Irving’s views have drawn attention. In a 2018 interview with the New York Times, he said the earth was flat. Later apologized for the statements. Last December, he put barrels of incense on the field in Boston, his former employer. He said he would use it to rid the hall of evil energy.