Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving says he is “doing what’s best for me” in refusing the Covid-19 vaccine, a move that will see him sidelined from the NBA.
The Nets have said the point guard will not play until he is eligible to become “a full participant” under New York City Covid-19 vaccine rules.
Irving is unvaccinated but regulations state all athletes who play or practice in the city have to be vaccinated. The 29-year-old says he will not bow to pressure to be vaccinated.
Speaking about the issue on Instagram Live on Wednesday, Irving said: “Do what’s best for you, but I am not an advocate for either side. I am doing what’s best for me.
“I know the consequences here, and if it means that I’m judged and demonised for that, that’s just what it is, that’s the role I play.”
Irving is a seven-time All-Star who played in 54 regular-season games for the Nets last season.
The NBA said recently that any player who chooses to not comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for the games they miss.
He added: “No, I’m not retiring, and no, I’m not going and leaving this game like this. There’s still so much more work to do.”
Irving can play in away games but Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks has ruled that out as an option.
“We respect his individual right to choose,” Marks said.
“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.”
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