- Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving said not getting the COVID-19 vaccine was about what “feels good for me.”
- Irving appeared in an Instagram Live the day after his team said he won’t play until his vaccination status changes.
- Vaccines have been proven time after time to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness from COVID-19.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has spoken publicly for the first time about deciding not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying he is doing “what feels good for me.”
The point guard will be sidelined from the NBA as New York City COVID-19 vaccine mandates mean that he cannot be in an indoor public space without a vaccination, making him unable to play at the Nets’ home, the Barclays Center.
Irving would be available to play in games in other cities without such mandates, but the Nets announced on Tuesday that he will not play or practice until he is able to be a full participant.
Discussing his decision on Instagram Live Wednesday night, the 29-year-old said he will not change his mind and will not get vaccinated.
He did not provide any specific reason for not getting vaccinated, saying only that he was “doing what’s best for me.”
COVID-19 vaccines have been shown over and over to be safe and effective.
Unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“Do what’s best for you, but I am not an advocate for either side,” Irving said.
“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is.
—Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 14, 2021
“That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”
Irving’s decision means he could forfeit close to half of his roughly $35 million salary this season, though the Nets will have to pay him for any away games he is excluded from, Nets GM Sean Marks said earlier in the week.
“It’s not always about the money,” Irving said on Instagram live. “The financial consequences, I know I do not want to even do that.
“It is reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on a team, I have to be vaccinated. I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice.
“I am going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing.
“This is not a political thing; this is not about the NBA, not about any organization. This is about my life and what I am choosing to do,” he added.
Despite his decision which brings a halt to his immediate playing future, Irving said he does not plan to retire.
“No, I’m not retiring and no I’m not going and leaving this game like this,” Irving said.
“There’s still so much more work to do and there still so many others to inspire, because I know they want to be better than me.”