Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving has remained resolute in his decision to not get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing personal choice and asking people to “respect” the decision. The choice, however, clashes with New York City’s vaccine mandate, resulting in Kyrie’s removal from games and practices. Now, a source has revealed to HollywoodLife exclusively that the Nets are “disappointed” in the star point guard, 29, explaining that it could potentially jeopardize championship chances.
“The team is trying to trade him, but it is almost impossible because he has said that he would retire if he was traded, making discussions with other teams almost nonexistent,” a source close to the Nets told HL. “The organization and his teammates are extremely disappointed with him. And that is saying it nicely. They had a championship caliber team lined up with him, and based on his actions — or in this case, his non-actions — it is potentially blowing up those chances.”
The source added that if Kyrie had a “change of heart,” the team would be “willing to work with him,” adding, “But if he continues to choose to be unvaccinated and they can’t trade him, then they will make sure he is away from the team.” The source continued, “Thankfully, this has happened during the preseason so they can try to fill in the holes where needed to try to have the most successful season possible.”
“The Nets hate that they have been put in this position,” the source said. “It is the headache of all headaches.” The Nets’ general manager Sean Marks confirmed that Kyrie would not be participating in games and practices on October 12. “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” his statement read. “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.”
“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,” he continued. “We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud.” The following day, Kyrie took to Instagram Live to address his decision, telling his followers that he is not anti-vaccine, but anti-mandates.
He also said that he understood the ramifications of his decision, including forfeiting his salary for unplayed games. “The financial consequence and stuff, I know I do not want to even do that, but it’s reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on the team, I have to be vaccinated,” he said. “I chose to be unvaccinated and that was my choice, and would ask you all just to respect that choice.”
“I am going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and be part of this whole thing.” He concluded the Live by reiterating that he was not retiring. “I am not going and leaving this game like this,” Kyrie said. “There is still so much more work to do.”