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Brooklyn Nets Star Kyrie Irving Won’t Play under Covid-19 Vaccination Mandate

Kyrie Irving is a professional basketball player that currently plays point guard/shooting guard for the Brooklyn Nets. In 2011, the Cleveland Cavaliers chose Irving as the first overall pick in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, and he received the Rookie of the Year Award that same year. He is a seven-time all-star and three-time member of the All-NBA team, a yearly tribute given to the best players in the league after every NBA season. Irving played for the Cavaliers from 2011-2017, helping the team win the NBA championship in 2016. He has since played for the Boston Celtics from 2017-2019 and is now team members with players like Kevin Durant and James Harden in Brooklyn.

One could say that Irving has had a successful career that is only just beginning. However, aside from Irving’s reputation as an elite basketball player, he has also become quite a controversial figure within sports. In February 2017, Kyrie Irving, along with his teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, appeared on the Holding Court podcast hosted by Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach. On the podcast, he said that he believes the earth is flat. This belief came from looking at a variety of videos on Instagram and spiraling down into a deep hole on YouTube. He has since apologized, saying, “I’m sorry about all that. For all of the science teachers, everybody coming up to me like, ‘You know, I have to teach my whole curriculum,’ I’m sorry. I apologize.”

That same year on the same podcast, Irving shared that he believes the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central banking system, had a part in the murder of President John F. Kennedy because he called for “the end of the bank cartel in the world.” In addition, he thinks that the CIA attempted to assassinate musician Bob Marley by enlisting Jamaicans. He stated, “Marley tried to bring people together and the fact that it was fundamentally built on love and truth and we kill people for doing the right thing like that.” 

Around a month ago, Kyrie again has been brought up in a negative light. Just recently, new reports have come out stating that Kyrie Irving won’t be able to play in any upcoming games until he complies with New York City’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate. According to ESPN, the vaccine mandate has declared that any person playing in a gym, which includes Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, the respective homes of the Nets and New York Knicks, needs to have at least one Covid-19 vaccine. Because of this, Irving was unable to participate in 43 regular season games, 41 of which were played at Barclays Center and 2 at MSG, in addition to another two preseason games in Brooklyn. In total, Irving will lose around $380,000 per game that he doesn’t play in. The official decision of Kyrie not being allowed to play was made by Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks and Joe Tsai, Owner and Governor of the Brooklyn Nets. However, every single person in the institution knew that this was the rule. It was Kyrie’s choice to not get vaccinated, and this decision came with consequences. Furthermore, Brooklyn had made a choice that a week before the Nets were set to start off the NBA season with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks, it was not going to let Irving play until his vaccination situation changes.

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