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14th Oct 2021

NBA superstar Kyrie Irving defends refusal to get vaccinated

Daniel Brown

“I am doing what’s best for me”

Kyrie Irving has defended his decision to not get vaccinated and insists that he is doing what is best for him.

On Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets guard admitted that, whilst he didn’t want to lose salary or miss games, he was doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Irving’s comments come after Nets general manager Sean Marks stated that guard Kyrie Irving will not practise or play with the Nets until he’s allowed to be a “full participant.”

Although the NBA does not require its players to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to play in the league, a New York mandate requires professional athletes competing on one of the city’s teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues.

Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving said he knows the consequences of his decision, but is doing what is best for him.

“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.”

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the American will miss out on $381,181 for every game he misses as a result of local vaccine restrictions in Brooklyn.

However, the 29-year-old claims it’s “not about the money”, but doing what is best for each individual.

“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?”

The seven-time All-Star was also keen to stress that he supported people who were and weren’t vaccinated, as well as conveying his gratitude for doctors.

“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 is available to play in away games for the Nets outside New York.

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