Kyrie Irving was attracted in the first place to the Brooklyn Nets by their culture, and that culture delivered a firm message to the intransigent anti-vaxxer on Tuesday.
New York City has mandated vaccination against COVID-19 (the global pandemic continuing to roil the planet for going on two years now) in order to gather at indoor locations, meaning that in order to play home games with the Nets, Irving will have to be vaccinated. His hope was that he could play all their road games while skipping their home games, which is consistent with his stance that this vaccine may have something to do with Satan’s computer (don’t ask me, I can’t explain it any better than that).
The Brooklyn Nets took a firm stance regarding Kyrie Irving’s unvaccinated status, declaring that his plan to play part-time is unacceptable.
In spite of Irving’s dearest hopes, the Nets declined to allow this plan. Irving will either play the full season, vaccinated along with the rest of his teammates and 95 percent of his fellow NBA players, or he will not play at all.
General manager Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai made the ultimate decision, although it was discussed with superstar teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden. It’s safe to say that all four were in agreement that this situation is untenable, and they will simply not tolerate it in order to placate Irving’s desires.
In essence, the Brooklyn Nets have firmly informed Kyrie Irving that there is no part-time work available.
This opens up a cavalcade of possible outcomes. Irving can cave, like fellow anti-vaxxer Andrew Wiggins, and get the shot. He can hold out and miss the entire season (as well as the salary from the home games he will not be playing). Irving might even retire, which is a cudgel he’s armed himself with in the case he gets traded.
His likely favored outcome would be that enough people get vaccinated that the COVID numbers go down, and New York City drops the mandate during the season.
That’s right, in Kyrie Irving’s perfect world, enough people would carry the societal burden of getting vaccinated against a global pandemic that has killed over 700,000 people in the United States and over 4 million people globally that he wouldn’t have to do it himself. Because Satan’s computer or something.
It’s a interesting contradiction, this newest chapter in Kyrie Irving’s personal tale. He’s remarkably generous, donating millions of dollars to wonderful causes, hundreds of thousands of meals during the early days of the pandemic, and his valuable time to causes he believes in. We learn every day that nobody is just one thing, though. He’s generous in ways that few in history can match but gullible to an incredible degree that threatens to derail the goodwill generated.
In spite of all the good he’s done, Kyrie Irving has found himself becoming little more than a political football, lobbed about and toyed with by some of the very entities he likely despises. I won’t link those entities here, but you can find them easily on social media.
Nobody knows how this saga will play out, least of all Kyrie Irving, but thank God NBA games are almost ready to start after a month spent talking more about players who aren’t playing than the players who are.