Kyrie Irving revealed that his decision not to get vaccinated is because he’s doing “what’s best for me,” even though he didn’t want to lose out on any money or a chance to win a championship with the Brooklyn Nets.
Earlier this week, the Nets said that Irving would not be joining the team because he isn’t allowed to play home games due to NYC’s vaccine requirement for professional athletes to be vaccinated in order for them to play or practice in public arenas.
While on Instagram Live, Irving stated that he loves basketball and will not be retiring.
“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.”
The Nets said it would compensate Irving to train with the Nets and play in games away from New York, but he would still lose around $35 million of his salary if he doesn’t play during home games.
“So what? It’s not about the money,” Irving said. “It’s not always about the money. It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money?”
According to reports, Irving supported both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. A source told CBS News that the league is now 96% vaccinated.
Irving claimed that he didn’t say he didn’t want to be vaccinated, just that he wouldn’t get one.
“Once again, I’m going to repeat this. This is not about the Nets. This is not about the organization. It’s not about the NBA. It’s not politics,” Irving said. “It’s not any one thing.”
“It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”
Irving hadn’t talked to reporters since Sept 27 at the Net’s media day when he requested privacy when asked about his vaccination status.
“No, I’m not retiring, and no, I’m not going and leaving this game like this,” Irving said. “There’s still so much more work to do and there still so many other (youngsters) to inspire because I know they want to be better than me.”
However, the Nets are a championship contender team, and Irving said he doesn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to play with the team. Sean Marks, the team’s general manager, said that the team would gladly welcome Irving back in the right conditions, and Irving stated that he did intend to return to the game.
On Tuesday, Marks said, “Kyrie has made a personal choice” to not get vaccinated.
“We respect his individual right to choose,” Marks said in a statement. “Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”