FILE PHOTO: Jun 5, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after making a basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of game one in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
October 14, 2021
(Reuters) – Kyrie Irving said he was “being true to what feels good” by choosing not to get vaccinated after the Brooklyn Nets decided he will not be allowed to practice or play with them until he complies with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
A New York mandate requires proof of at least one shot of the vaccine to enter large indoor spaces. The NBA has said players who are unable to compete due to local mandates will miss out on pay.
“It is not about being anti-vax or about being on one side or the other. It is just really about being true to what feels good for me,” ESPN quoted the Nets guard as saying on Instagram Live on Wednesday.
“If I am going to be demonized for having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, that is just what it is. I know the consequences of the decisions that I make with my life. I am not here to sugarcoat any of that.
“The financial consequences, I know I do not want to even do that. But it is the 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.”
NBA players who are not vaccinated will have to comply with a long list of restrictions to take part in the upcoming season, according to a memo obtained by Reuters last month.
The 2021-2022 season is set to begin Oct. 19.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)