Australian-born NBA star Kyrie Irving says he accepts he could lose millions of dollars for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Kyrie Irving says he will not give up his “passion” because of New York’s vaccination mandate
- New York City’s rules say he should get the jab to play or train with the Nets
- Net’s general manager Sean Marks has previously said that the team would be happy to welcome Irving back under the right circumstances
Earlier this week, the Brooklyn Nets announced that they were benching their star player because he was unable to train or play in New York City.
New York laws require that professional athletes be vaccinated to train or play in public places.
The Nets said they would not put the team in a situation where Irving was part-time and only played in games outside of New York.
Irving said on Instagram Live that he loved basketball and would not retire.
“It’s not always about the money. It’s about choosing what’s best for you.
“I’m doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here, and if that means I’m being convicted and demonized for it, 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 above this mandate.”
Irving is due for $ 35.3 million ($ 47.9 million) this season, in the third year of a $ 136.5 million four-year deal he signed in July 2019.
He said he supported people who were and were not vaccinated, and expressed gratitude to doctors.
The All-Star guard gave no indication that he was against being vaccinated, just that he decided not to do so.
“Once again, I want to repeat this. This is not about the Nets, it’s not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, it’s not politics,” Irving said. “It is not one thing.
“It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”
Irving has not spoken to reporters since Nets’ September 27 media day, when he appeared on Zoom and asked for privacy when asked about his vaccination status.
General manager Sean Marks has said the team would be happy to welcome Irving back under the right circumstances and Irving made it clear he needed to play again.
“There’s still so much more work to do, and there’s still so many others (young people) to inspire, because I know they want to be better than me.”
AP / ABC