Kyrie Irving stated Wednesday night that he hopes to play for the Brooklyn Nets again, but that this is "about my life and what it is I choose to do." He also explained why he didn't get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Irving stated that he was neither pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine, and that he fully comprehends the consequences of his decision.
Irving stated that the financial consequences were too much for him to bear. It is a fact that I must be vaccinated in order for me to travel to New York City and be part of a team. I made the decision to not get vaccinated. I'm grateful for your understanding.
"I will just keep in shape, be available to play, rock out with my team and be part of the whole thing. This isn't a political issue; it is not about the NBA or any other organization. It is about me and the things I choose to do with my life.
Irving took to social media to voice his disapproval after the Nets banned their starting point guard from playing with them until he had completed New York City's COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Irving said that he is not angry with the Nets, his teammates, or the NBA and that he wasn't trying to make any political statements. Irving repeatedly stated that he respected doctors who do their best to protect people and those who have been vaccinated. He also said that he was respectful of those who have not been vaccinated or are being forced to.
Sean Marks, the Nets' general manager, stated Tuesday that the decision not to allow Irving to join the team was made jointly by Joe Tsai and Marks. Marks said Irving would only lose the money he was supposed to play in home matches, which is against New York City's rules.
According to ESPN's Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks, Irving could lose more than $17 million if he misses any Brooklyn game this season, including the preseason games. Irving is also eligible for a four year, $187 million extension with Brooklyn.
Irving said, "You have to make these convictions yourselves." Irving had not spoken publicly since Sept. 27, when Irving had to speak to reporters via videoconference call due to New York City’s mandate. "Yo, you're going to miss out on money. You are going to miss out on this. But that's okay. It's not about money, baby. It's about choosing the best option for you.
You really think that I would like to lose money? Do you think I would give up my dream of winning a championship? Do you think that I just want to quit my job? You think I just want to stay at home and not chase the things I have learned from my colleagues. Are you implying that I would give up my livelihood to fulfill a mandate because I don’t have accommodations or because I am not vaccinated? "Come on!"
Irving stated that he was "still uncertain about many things, and this is okay."
Irving declared, "This is my life." "This is my body, I can do what I want with it. You are telling me what I should do with my body. ... This is all connected to what's happening in the world. And this is more than the game of basketball.
Irving added later, "I am staying grounded on what I believe in." It's that simple. It's not about being pro-vax or being on one side of the other. It's about what feels right for me. It is about being true to what feels good for me. It is okay to be mocked for asking more questions and taking time to make decisions in my life. I know the consequences of my decisions. I am aware of the consequences of my decisions. "I am not here to gloss over any of this."
Irving ended his talk via Instagram Live by stating that he was not ending his career in this manner.
Irving stated, "Nobody is taking over this voice." See if they show this on their TV channels, and if they present this truth elsewhere before you begin talking about me or what I'm doing with my life. No, I'm not retiring. This is not the way I want to leave this game. There's still so much to be done.