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NBA player Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets has been banned from playing for the New York team due to his refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Irving has stated that he will not get the vaccine for personal reasons.
He may be entitled to this choice, but there are consequences. For Irving, the results are he cannot play this season. In addition, he loses his salary of an estimated $38 million. Yet, even with these losses, the seven-time NBA all-star, the Nets point guard, will not sell out his values to comply with a mandate that he believes violates t his natural-born liberty of choice.
This is not the first time Irving has protested and stood up for something he believes. Irving was the leading frontrunner in sitting out NBA games until progress would be made by the government changing police policy after Minnesotan George Floyd was murdered by then Minnesota Police officer Derek Chauvin. He pinned Floyd on the ground with his knee on his neck for over 8 minutes, depriving Floyd of air and killing him.
This murder sparked protests among NBA as a call to action for police reform across America. As a result, teams postponed games to honor the life of George Floyd. As he sat out games, Irving was criticized for continuing to do so while the season resumed.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith called him selfish for leaving his team out in the cold then and has not changed his tune in the wake of the new controversy surrounding Irving’s vaccine status.
To Irving, it is his business, often telling interviewers that it is not theirs and moving on to the next question. The Nets released a statement supporting Irving for staying true to his personal beliefs but will not allow him to play home or away games as they need 100 percent compliance from their players. They have now deemed him unreliable and have begun looking at trade options.
Written by Mikal Eggleston
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
YAHOO! Sports: No, Kyrie Irving isn’t going to shut up and dribble; by Dan Wetzel
Images Courtesy of K.RiSS’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License