Brooklyn Nets Star Kyrie Irving recently played his first home game this season. By doing so, he made serious noise around the league. Kyrie Irving never received the vaccination, mandated for all workers in New York City. The rule effectively kept Kyrie from playing. The Nets, heavy favorites to win the title at the beginning of the season, have struggled, in part due to the inconsistency of their lineups — in part due to COVID-19 restrictions. Of course, many argued the rules were applied inconsistently to the 11 Year NBA Veteran. Indeed, the mandate only applied to home players. As NBA Commissioner Adam Silver argued:
“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players. I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays but the home player can’t.”
In order not to step on any toes, Silver also said:
“My personal view is people should get vaccinated and boosted”
All in all, he makes a compelling argument. Why was this rule applied to Kyrie but none of the visiting players if the goal was to protect the fans? There seems to be no good answer.
Kyrie has taken a beating from both the fans and the media for his stand against forced vaccinations. Indeed, one can be pro-vaccine and anti-mandate. But Kyrie argues for something greater — he thinks all those who refused to get the vaccine, for whatever reason, should be free from persecution. As the NBA Star said:
“You know, now is the time to really get all of us included and get everybody back to work so we get some normalcy around here. But I know everybody still feels it, and there’s a whole community of people that have lost their jobs due to this mandate as well. And I’m just putting care out for them most importantly, and standing alongside them.”
Kyrie is courageous in his stand for the unvaccinated. Whether it is the right choice or not, to be vaccinated or not is just that — a choice. And conscience is not something that should be compelled.