NEW YORK (NWN) – Kyrie Irving said Wednesday that he doesn’t want to lose a paycheck or a chance to compete for the championship with the Brooklyn Nets, but is doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, The Nets decided that Irving would not be on the team. because he is not eligible to participate in home games, where, according to the New York mandate, professional athletes from one of the city teams must be vaccinated for training or playing in public places.
Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving said he loves basketball and has no plans to retire.
“I do what is best for me. I know the consequences here, and if it means I’m being judged and demonized for it, that’s exactly what it is, ”Irving said. “This is the role that I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream only after this mandate.”
Irving could train with the Nets and play away games outside of New York. The Nets will pay him to do it, but he is giving up about half of his $ 35 million salary by skipping 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. Do you think I really want to lose money?”
Irving said he supports people who have been and have not been vaccinated and expressed gratitude to the doctors. The All-Star Guard did not give any indication that he was against vaccination, just decided not to.
“I will say it again. This is not about the Nets, not about the organization, not about the NBA, not about politics, ”Irving said. “It’s not just one thing.
“It’s about the freedom of what I want to do.”
Irving has not spoken to reporters since media day at the Nets on September 27, when he appeared via Zoom and asked for confidentiality when asked about his vaccination status.
The Nets are vying for the title, and Irving has said he doesn’t want to pass up the opportunity he has with them. General manager Sean Marks said the team would happily welcome Irving’s return under the right circumstances, and Irving made it clear that he was going to play again.
“No, I’m not retiring, and no, I’m not leaving and leaving the game like this,” Irving said. “There is still so much to be done and there are still so many others (young people) to be inspired because I know they want to be better than me.”
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