Kyrie Irving says decision to stay unvaccinated is “to be true to what makes me feel good”

Kyrie Irving said on Wednesday night that he still hopes to come back and play for the brooklyn nets but that “it’s about my life and what I choose to do” as he explained his decision not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Irving, speaking on Instagram Live, said he was neither pro nor anti-vaccine and fully understood the ramifications of his decision.

“The financial consequences, I know I don’t even want to do that,” Irving said. “But it is true that to be in New York, to be part of a team, I have to be vaccinated. I chose not to be vaccinated and it was my choice and I would ask you all to respect that choice. .

“I’m just going to continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to play with my teammates and be a part of it all. It’s not a political thing, it’s not about the NBA, not about any organization, it’s about my life and what I choose to do.

Irving spoke out on social media a day after the Nets decided not to allow their starting point guard to train or play with them until he complies with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate of New York City. Irving has made it clear he’s not angry with the Nets organization, his teammates or the NBA, and said he’s not trying to make a political statement. He has repeated on several occasions that he respects the doctors who continue to try to ensure the safety of people and those who are vaccinated while respecting those who are not vaccinated and “are mandated to do so and lose their earnings. -bread”.

Nets general manager Sean Marks said on Tuesday that the decision not to let Irving join the team until he receives at least one vaccine was ultimately made by him and the team owner, Joe Tsai. Marks has also said Irving will only lose the money he has to play in home games, which he is not allowed to do under New York tenure.

If Irving misses every game in Brooklyn this season (including the preseason games), as well as the two regular season games against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, he could lose more than $ 17 million, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Tim Bontemps. Irving is also eligible to sign a four-year, $ 187 million extension with Brooklyn.

“You have to make those beliefs yourself,” said Irving, who had not spoken publicly since Sept. 27, when he had to speak to reporters by video conference because he couldn’t join his teammates for the day. media due to the New York City mandate. . “‘Yo, you’re gonna lose money, you’re gonna lose this.’ And so, it’s not about the money, baby, it’s about choosing what’s best for you.

“Do you really think I want to lose money? Do you think I really want to give up my dream of going after a championship? Do you think I really want to give up my job? You think I really want to stay home go after the things with my teammates that I was able to grow up with, to learn with, to learn that it takes sacrifices in this space. … You think I want to give up my livelihood because of a tenure, because I do not You have no accommodation, because I am not vaccinated?

Irving said he was “still unsure about a lot of things and that was okay.”

“This is my life,” Irving said. “I can do whatever I want with it, it’s a body that I get here. And you tell me what to do with my body.… It has everything to do with what’s going on in our world. And I’m grouped together. in something that’s bigger than basketball. “

Irving later added, “I stay grounded in what I believe in. It’s that simple. It’s not about being anti-vax or being on one side or the other. . It’s just about being true to what feels good for me. … If I’m going to be demonized for having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, that’s exactly what that is. … I know the consequences of the decisions I make with my life. I’m not here to wrap it all up. “

Irving ended his Instagram Live speech by saying he wouldn’t end his career like this.

“Nobody is hijacking that voice,” Irving said. “See if they broadcast this on their TV channels and if they broadcast this truth somewhere before you start talking about me and what I do with my life. And no, I’m not retiring. And no, I’m not leaving. This game like this. There is still so much work to be done. “

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