Kyrie Irving attempted to clear the air on Wednesday night in a longwinded Instagram live regarding his vaccination status.
Because Irving refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and due to the fact that New York requires all pro athletes who practice or play indoors show proof of at least one vaccine shot, he cannot participate in Brooklyn Nets home games.
A frustrated Nets front office confirmed this week that, if Irving does not comply with the rules necessary to be a full-time player, they will not accommodate him part-time.
That is what Irving decided to delve into during his Instagram live session.
“This is about my life and what I am choosing to do,” Irving said.
“The financial consequences, I know I do not want to even do that. But 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.”
Irving didn’t stop there, though.
“This is my life,” he continued. “I get to do whatever I want with this, this is one body that I get here. And you are telling me what to do with my body. This has everything to do with what is going on in our world. And I am being grouped into something that is bigger than just the game of basketball.”
Irving also maintained that he would not give in to public pressure.
“Nobody is hijacking this voice,” he added. “See if they play this on their TV channels and if they play this actual truth somewhere before you start talking about me and what I am doing with my life. And no, I am not retiring. And no, I am not going and leaving this game like this. There is still so much more work to do.”
On Wednesday night, Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns addressed Irving’s stance.
“I’m obviously a strong believer in the vaccine,” Towns said, per Adam Zagoria of NJ.com. “I’ve been through so much and it would be kind of contradictory to not be on the pro-vaccine side. But what I will say is that I believe in choice and I like to give people their choice and I have no problem with people having their choice.”
Towns’ opinion is especially poignant because he has lost seven members of his family to the coronavirus, including his mother in 2020.
Dodgers vs Giants is a very exciting series. https://t.co/OPpiG1Tcsa
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 13, 2021
“I think that’s not only a human right, but it’s an American right as well.. … They make their own decisions on their own bodies and their own families. I have no ill will towards that,” Towns added. “The only thing I would say is just don’t give me a (expletive) excuse why [you don’t get the vaccine]…You don’t want to do it, that’s your choice.”
Irving and vaccination drama aside, this is shaping up to be a big year for Towns. He just issued a confident warning to Joel Embiid and the other big men in the league, suggesting he’s anticipating a breakout season. Should that not happen, though – there is at least one team waiting in the wings eager to trade for him.