Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is staring down the barrel of a potentially explosive situation.
The 29-year-old refuses to get vaccinated for COVID-19. New York requires pro athletes who practice or play indoors to show proof of at least one vaccine shot. That means, barring something changing, Irving cannot play in the Nets’ home games.
Irving’s reluctance to get the vaccine has taken a sledgehammer to his relationship with the Nets. Trade talks have begun as a result.
This week, Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul was asked for his take on the entire situation.
Paul’s response was telling in regards to how most players seem to feel regarding Irving’s decision.
Chris Paul offers his perspective on Kyrie Irving potentially missing home games due to vaccine mandates in New York:
“I think every situation is personal. … It’s not up to me to make a decision for anybody except for me and my family.” pic.twitter.com/JjMsrtsRcM
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 6, 2021
“I think every situation is personal,” he said. “… It’s not up to me to make a decision for anybody except for me and my family.”
You will recall, that sounds an awful lot like what Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said on the topic of vaccinations.
Lakers’ LeBron James, who confirmed that he is vaccinated, explains his hands-off approach to vaccine advocacy: “That’s not my job.” pic.twitter.com/QNOG4wzGvr
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 28, 2021
When Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins refused to get his vaccination (he later begrudgingly relented), Draymond Green also said something similar.
“That would be like Andrew — who everyone knows recently just had a kid maybe five months or so ago now — that would be like me telling him, ‘Yo, your wife is going into labor. How dare you leave this team and not go tend to your wife?'” he said. “That’s something that’s personal to him. That’s something that’s health-related. That’s something that’s personal to his family. This is no different.”
For Green, the matter is a personal one.
“I’m not in any position to tell him what he should or should not be doing,” he continued. “And as a leader of his team, I’m not going to go to him and say, ‘Hey man, we really need …’ No, you do what you feel. I’m not going to go and ask him, did he get a polio vaccine? So why would I go ask him if he got a COVID vaccine?
“It’s not my place or my business on whether he gets vaccinated or not — it’s your own personal choice at the end of the day what you do with your body. It’s not my place to tell him what he should or shouldn’t do with his. Because he’s not going to come tell me what I should do with my body.”
McKayla Maroney knows how to go viral. https://t.co/ugyzOr3RqA
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 5, 2021
While Irving’s fellow players seem to be on the same page as him regarding this situation, the Nets’ front office is not. They came very close to including him in a blockbuster trade not long ago, only to have Kevin Durant step in and veto it.
Given how things have gone recently, however, it’s safe to assume that next time around the front office will go through with the deal regardless of how Durant feels about it.