Kyrie Irving, the NBA star who has been banned indefinitely from training or playing with the Brooklyn Nets due to his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19, spoke publicly Wednesday night for the first time since the team decided to kick him out of court, saying his refusal was a matter of personal freedom.
“Do you think I really want to lose money?” Irving, who is expected to make around $ 40 million this season, said on his Instagram feed in a curvy monologue containing incorrect medical information. More than 90 percent of the league’s players are vaccinated, a much higher proportion than the general population of the United States.
“Do you think I really want to give up my dream of chasing a championship?” Irving, 29, said. “Do you think I really want to quit my job?” Do you think I really want to stay home?
On Tuesday, the Nets said they had banned Irving from playing until he became “eligible to be a full participant.” New York City requires most teens and adults to have at least one vaccine to enter facilities such as sports arenas, and Irving did not train with the Nets in Brooklyn. Irving joined the Nets in 2019 as they formed a team of superstars including Kevin Durant and James Harden.
Irving demanded that his decision not to be vaccinated be honored and said he had no plans to retire. He has expressed his refusal to be vaccinated in his opposition to the warrants, saying no one should be “forced” to do so.
Irving falsely claimed that his decision to remain unvaccinated did not harm others. The highly contagious Delta variant quickly spread to areas with low vaccination rates. And hospitals in those areas have been overrun with unvaccinated patients, leaving few beds and staff to treat other patients.