Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving apparently has no plans to get vaccinated, a decision that will cost him tens of millions of dollars. Yet, as OutKick founder Clay Travis noted, Irving isn’t receiving near the same support from the mainstream media that other athletes have for their own stances (Colin Kaepernick, anyone?)
FILE – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving handles the ball during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, in this Thursday, May 6, 2021, file photo. Unable to attend the Brooklyn Nets’ media day, Kyrie Irving asked for privacy Monday when pressed about his vaccination status and availability for home games. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Regardless of your personal opinions on the COVID vaccine mandate, Kyrie Irving is the first American athlete in the 21st century to actually give up tens of millions of dollars for his beliefs,” Clay tweeted. “Every other ‘brave’ athlete has made more money for their political beliefs.”
Because of a New York City mandate, Irving would be ineligible to play home games in Brooklyn. He could still play in the majority of road games without the vaccine — but the Nets decided he either is eligible to play in all, or none. In other words, they won’t allow Irving to be a part of things if he’s not vaccinated.
That leaves Irving with three options. He can either wait for the mandate to be lifted, or to be traded, or to sit out the season. Of course, he could also receive the vaccine, but again, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for him.
Irving explained his position in an Instagram Live post.
FILE – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in New York, in this Saturday, June 5, 2021, file photo. Players like Kyrie Irving, who has refused to say if he will be vaccinated against COVID-19, will be subject to testing on all NBA practice, travel and game days this season. Fully vaccinated players will not. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File) (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)
“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,” Irving said. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”
Of course, being “demonized” by the media is exactly how it is playing out. Unlike Kap and crew, there is no celebration of an athlete’s beliefs if it doesn’t fall in line with what the media mobs demand.
“It’s fascinating to me how quickly the sports media fall all over themselves to praise the ‘bravery’ of athletes who make more money for their opinions and are ripping the guy who stands to lose tens of millions for his,” Clay wrote.
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets cheers from the bench during a pre season game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 3, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
But Irving has more support than most media members want you to believe. No less than former teammate J.R. Smith stood up for Irving.
“Extremely proud of you bro!” Smith tweeted, tagging Irving.