(LifeSiteNews) – NBA player Kyrie Irving has refused to comply with the New York City COVID-19 vaccine mandate despite being suspended by his club for the entirety of the upcoming NBA season.
The 29-year-old Brooklyn Nets basketball player took to Instagram yesterday for a 24-minute livestream, saying he will not be pressured into taking the jab. The day before, Nets general manager Sean Marks announced that Irving would be unable to practice or play with his team because he is unvaccinated.
Throughout the livestream, Irving condemned the divisions that the vaccine mandate has created between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and insisted that he is on no one’s side but had to make a decision for himself.
“Seeing the way that this [issue] is dividing our world up, being vaccinated or being unvaccinated, it’s just sad to see,” he said.
“It’s creating a lot of divisions, a lot of confusion, a lot of people are saying things that are untrue … ”
The seven-time All-Star stressed that his decision to go on Instagram to speak out was not politically motivated but that he felt the needed to address his fans directly in order to prevent others from misrepresenting him.
Despite describing basketball as his passion, Irving said he was convinced that what is currently happening in the world is “bigger than just a game of basketball.”
“It’s a crazy time we’re in!” he said.
“This is not normal, what’s going on here is not normal … you have to put your livelihood on the line [because of] a mandate that you don’t necessarily agree with.”
The Nets player said that he is saddened that some people have “demonized” him because of his decision.
“If I’m going to be demonized for having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, that’s just what it is,” he said, insisting that nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies.
He also complained that no exemptions are being granted and argued that everyone should have a right to choose what to inject in their body.
“What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised […] exemptions, or that you wouldn’t have to be forced to get the vaccine?” he asked.
“This is my life,” he said, “I get to do whatever I want with this [body], this is one God [given] body that I get here.”
He went on to condemn the fear tactics used by many to pressure people into getting vaccinated, saying that this is equivalent to “backing [people] up against the wall” to have them “make a decision out of fear.”
Irving shared some personal details about his decision-making process.
“I had to really think about this, and meditate and pray,” he said, insisting that he never wanted to give up on what he calls his “passion,” his “love” and his “dream.”
“I love the game, but sometimes you really have to make choices that ultimately can affect that … and it’s unfortunate, but that’s where we’re in in 2021,” he said.
Though Irving repeated several times that he’s not giving up or retiring from basketball, it’s clear that being unvaccinated means he won’t be allowed to take part in the upcoming season whether for games or practice. The NBA star also said that unvaccinated players will not get paid for the games they miss.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Marks said that Irving wouldn’t be able to practice or play with his team until he becomes “eligible to be a full participant.”
Marks claimed that he respects Irving’s “individual right to choose” but that this choice currently restricts his ability to be member of the team.
Nets GM Sean Marks statement on Brooklyn’s decision to sit Kyrie Irving until he fulfills NYC vaccination rules: pic.twitter.com/4LBIQXt7al
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 12, 2021
Irving is not the first basketball player to challenge the mainstream narrative on the experimental COVID jabs. Last month, Washington Wizards player Bradley Beal said he hadn’t taken the COVID shot for “personal reasons.” Questioned by the media on his decision, Beal pushed back with his own questions on the efficacy of the COVID jabs.
“I would like an explanation to, you know, people with the vaccine, why are they still getting COVID? If that’s something that we are supposed to highly be protected from,” Beal said.