The Athletic's Shams Charania reported yesterday that the Brooklyn Nets have decided to sit Kyrie Irving until he is fully vaccinated, not allowing their superstar point guard to be a part-time contributor going into the 2021-22 NBA season. Kyrie will not play for the Nets until he is vaccinated or the city's vaccine mandate is lifted.
Charania also shed light on Kyrie's decision not to get vaccinated, following Sean Marks' official statement against his part-time availability. According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of Irving's decision, the 29-year-old is not anti-vaccine but against people losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates.
It’s a stance that Irving has explained to close teammates. To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. It is a decision that he believes he is capable to make given his current life dynamics. “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,” one source said.
Shams Charania, The Athletic
Despite his intentions, Irving refused to speak out when he was asked about his vaccination status during the team's media day a few weeks ago. “I like to keep that stuff private,” he said. “I’m a human being first...I would love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward with a plan."
It's only after his team took the necessary measures that we are getting information about the rationale behind Kyrie's decision. Doing it earlier would've helped his cause and brought more people to his side in what is already a decisive issue. Now it might be too late for peoples' perception to change.
Still, his availability moving forward remains the most important question. It's pretty clear that, as long as he remains unvaccinated, assuming New York City regulations stay the same, we won't see Kyrie in the Nets jersey. Rival teams believe the Nets would be open to trading their Big Three member, but the cloud of uncertainty looming over Irving limits the number of teams willing to make an offer.
So despite Brooklyn's decision, the Kyrie Irving saga continues. But at least now we know the real reason it's happening.