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Kyrie Irving Goes on IG Live to Address Vaccine Refusal, Being Unable to Play, More (Watch)

'It's not about money, it's about freedom': Kyrie Irving doubles down on refusing COVID vaccine even though he'll lose half his 35M salary by missing Nets games

Kyrie IrvingKyrie Irving addresses his vaccine controversy on IG Live, Oct. 13, 2021

Kyrie Irving said Wednesday he didn’t want to lose salary or a chance to compete for a championship with the Brooklyn Nets, but was doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

After the Brooklyn Nets decided Tuesday that Irving would not play with the team – because a New York mandate requires athletes on the city’s pro teams to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and he refuses to get one – he took to Instagram Live Wednesday night with his thoughts.

“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.”

Irving would have been able to practice with the Nets and play in road games outside New York in states without such mandates. The Nets will pay him for those but he is giving up about half of his $35 million salary by missing the 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?”

Irving said he loved basketball, has no plans on retiring, supports those who both got the vaccine and those who will not, and expressed appreciation 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 hasn’t spoken to reporters since the Nets’ media day on Sept. 27, when he appeared via Zoom and asked for privacy when questioned about his vaccination status.

Watch his entire IG Live response below:

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Brooklyn Nets BAN Kyrie Irving, 29, from playing until he gets vaccinated - costing him HALF of his 34.9M salary this year in missed home games

Kyrie Irving stands to lose around half his $34.9 million salary this season by refusing to get vaccinated, but the Brooklyn Nets guard said he doesn't regret his decision to defy New York's COVID-19 injection mandate

Kyrie Irving stands to lose around half his $34.9 million salary this season by refusing to get vaccinated, but the Brooklyn Nets guard said he doesn't regret his decision to defy New York's COVID-19 injection mandate. 

'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 Nets decided Tuesday that Irving wouldn't be with the team because he isn't eligible to play in home games, where a New York mandate requires professional athletes on one of the city's teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues. 

In addition to playing road games, Irving could have been allowed to practice in Brooklyn because the team's training center is considered a private workplace and not a public arena. Regardless, the team decided to sideline him indefinitely until he's vaccinated or a permanent solution can be reached. 

Kyrie Irving stands to lose around half his $34.9 million salary this season by refusing to get vaccinated, but the Brooklyn Nets guard said he doesn't regret his decision to defy New York's COVID-19 injection mandate

Kyrie Irving stands to lose around half his $34.9 million salary this season by refusing to get vaccinated, but the Brooklyn Nets guard said he doesn't regret his decision to defy New York's COVID-19 injection mandate

Kyrie Irving speaks after refusing to get the COVID vaccine

Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving said he loved basketball and shot down any suggestion that he could retire over the issue.  

'I am doing what's best for me,' he said Wednesday. 'I know the consequences here and if it means that I'm judged and demonized for that, that's just what it is. That's the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.' 

Irving said he supported people who were and weren't vaccinated and expressed appreciation for doctors. The All-Star guard didn't give any indication that he was against being vaccinated, just that he was deciding not to.

'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 had been mysteriously absent from some ticket sales promotions and team advertisements in recent weeks. He, James Harden (right) and Kevin Durant (left) were expected to form the core of an NBA-title contender this season

Irving had been mysteriously absent from some ticket sales promotions and team advertisements in recent weeks. He, James Harden (right) and Kevin Durant (left) were expected to form the core of an NBA-title contender this season

Irving hasn't spoken to reporters since the Nets' media day on September 27, when he appeared via Zoom and asked for privacy when questioned about his vaccination status.

The Nets are championship contenders and Irving said he didn't want to miss the opportunity he has with them. General manager Sean Marks said the team would gladly welcome Irving back under the right circumstances, and Irving made clear he was going to play again.

'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.' 

As explained by former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks (no relation to current GM Sean Marks), the Nets were not allowed to dock Irving's pay for road games missed because that was a team decision and not the result of a citywide mandate. The NBA and the players' union previously agreed that players will lose 1/91.6th of their salary for every game missed without proper cause this season. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests

As explained by former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks (no relation to current GM Sean Marks), the Nets were not allowed to dock Irving's pay for road games missed because that was a team decision and not the result of a citywide mandate. The NBA and the players' union previously agreed that players will lose 1/91.6th of their salary for every game missed without proper cause this season. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests

Sean Marks told reporters Tuesday that Kyrie Irving will be paid for the road games he misses. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests.

Sean Marks told reporters Tuesday that Kyrie Irving will be paid for the road games he misses. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests.

Nets owner Joe Tsai
Nets GM Sean Marks

The decision was made by Nets owner Joe Tsai (left) and general manager Sean Marks (right)

Marks told reporters on Tuesday that the decision was made by himself and team owner Joe Tsai after several meetings with Irving and his representatives. 

Marks also explained to reporters that Irving will be paid for the road games he misses, so he should retain around $17 million of his $34.9 million salary this season.  

The NBA and the players' union previously agreed that players will lose 1/91.6th of their salary for every game missed without proper cause this season. 

Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.  

Los Angeles and San Francisco are the only other NBA cities with vaccine mandates. However, Canada does have rigid travel restrictions, so unvaccinated players facing the Raptors in Toronto will be quarantined in their rooms when they're not playing or practicing.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Brooklyn Nets BAN star Kyrie Irving, 29, from ALL games and practices until he's

Faced with the prospect of playing home games without unvaccinated guard Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets have decided to completely sideline the NBA All-Star until he receives the injection or a permanent solution can be reached.

Irving was expected to miss home games this season due to New York's vaccine mandate. However, in addition to playing on the road, he would have been allowed to practice in Brooklyn because the team's training center is considered a private workplace and not a public arena.

Unfortunately for Irving, the Nets are now saying that he will not be playing or practicing with the team for the foreseeable future. It remains unclear if the 29-year-old will get vaccinated, sit for the entire season, or if the team will trade him to a club that isn't facing a mandate.   

'Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,' read the statement from general manager Sean Marks. 

'Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. 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.'

Faced with the prospect of playing home games without unvaccinated guard Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets have decided to completely sideline the NBA All-Star until a permanent solution can be reached

Faced with the prospect of playing home games without unvaccinated guard Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets have decided to completely sideline the NBA All-Star until a permanent solution can be reached

Marks's statement stressed the team's efforts to build chemistry among Nets players. 

'It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice,' Marks said. 'Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction. 

'We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud.'

Marks told reporters on Tuesday that the decision was made by himself and team owner Joe Tsai after several meetings with Irving and his representatives. 

Marks also explained to reporters that Irving will be paid for the road games he misses, so he should retain around $17 million of his $34.9 million salary this season.  

The NBA and the players' union previously agreed that players will lose 1/91.6th of their salary for every game missed without proper cause this season. 

Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.  

Los Angeles and San Francisco are the only other NBA cities with vaccine mandates. However, Canada does have rigid travel restrictions, so unvaccinated players facing the Raptors in Toronto will be quarantined in their rooms when they're not playing or practicing. 

Sean Marks told reporters Tuesday that Kyrie Irving will be paid for the road games he misses. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests.

Sean Marks told reporters Tuesday that Kyrie Irving will be paid for the road games he misses. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests.

As explained by former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks (no relation to current GM Sean Marks), the Nets were not allowed to dock Irving's pay for road games missed because that was a team decision and not the result of a citywide mandate. The NBA and the players' union previously agreed that players will lose 1/91.6th of their salary for every game missed without proper cause this season. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests

As explained by former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks (no relation to current GM Sean Marks), the Nets were not allowed to dock Irving's pay for road games missed because that was a team decision and not the result of a citywide mandate. The NBA and the players' union previously agreed that players will lose 1/91.6th of their salary for every game missed without proper cause this season. Currently Irving stands to lose $381,000 for every home game he misses this season, which could total $15.5 million if he's held out of all 41 contests

Nets owner Joe Tsai
Nets GM Sean Marks

The decision was made by Nets owner Joe Tsai (left) and general manager Sean Marks (right)

The statement stressed the team's efforts to build chemistry among Nets players

The statement stressed the team's efforts to build chemistry among Nets players

Irving had been mysteriously absent from some ticket sales promotions and team advertisements in recent weeks. He, James Harden (right) and Kevin Durant (left) were expected to form the core of an NBA-title contender this season

Irving had been mysteriously absent from some ticket sales promotions and team advertisements in recent weeks. He, James Harden (right) and Kevin Durant (left) were expected to form the core of an NBA-title contender this season

Irving had been mysteriously absent from some ticket sales promotions and team advertisements in recent weeks. 

He, James Harden and Kevin Durant were expected to form the core of an NBA-title contender this season.  

Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins said he felt 'forced' to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or he would run the risk of getting pushed out of the league

Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins said he felt 'forced' to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or he would run the risk of getting pushed out of the league

NBA players are not required to be vaccinated, but the overwhelming majority are. As recently as late September, the league reported a 95 percent vaccination rate among players. 

However, due to mandates in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, some players are faced with the prospect of missing games and game checks. 

Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors, who play in San Francisco, reluctantly decided to get vaccinated because of the situation. 

'It feels good to play, but getting vaccinated, that's going to be something that stays in my mind for a long time,' Wiggins said. 'It's not something I wanted to do, but I was forced to.'

The 26-year-old applied for a religious exemption with the NBA but was denied, and thus risked forfeiture of nearly half his $31.5 million salary for the 2021-22 season if he didn't receive the vaccine. 

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Irving has 'sacrificed more than [Colin] Kaepernick ever did

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Irving has 'sacrificed more than [Colin] Kaepernick ever did

Irving is getting some support from conservatives on social media.  

On Tuesday, in response to the news, senator Ted Cruz suggested his hometown Houston Rockets could trade for Kyrie Irving: 'The @HoustonRockets could use a point guard...'

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Irving has 'sacrificed more than [Colin] Kaepernick ever did.' 

Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback, has been out of the league since he protested racism by kneeling during the national anthem throughout the 2016 season.  

As for Irving's sponsors, his relationship with Nike was already frayed since he publicly slammed the release of the Kyrie 8s this summer. 

'I have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming #Kyrie8,' he tweeted in July. '[In my opinion] these are trash!' 

According to Forbes Irving also has a deal with Pepsi. 

However, neither brand has commented publicly on Irving's suspension.  

Senator Ted Cruz (Texas, Republican) suggested that the Rockets could trade for Kyrie Irving

Senator Ted Cruz (Texas, Republican) suggested that the Rockets could trade for Kyrie Irving 

Brooklyn Nets BAN star Kyrie Irving, 29, from ALL games and practices until he's vaccinated

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Comment by mr1stroke on October 12, 2021 at 7:38pm

With tht vaccine nonsense no one has any rights, no health concern or religious, they even deny transplant to people who needs it, some say vaccine jas always been there but have they always pay people to take it, government should dont pay my health benefit they shoukd not be telling me what to do with my health, that is for their walefare recipients

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