If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired. ♾🤞🏾
This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history.
— A11Even (@KyrieIrving) September 20, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on populations. More than one million Americans have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
In March 2020, NBA action was shut down because of the pandemic and resumed more than four months later in Orlando, Fla. with no fans in attendance.
After a vaccine was quickly developed, mandates that required employees of various companies to get the vaccine were put in place. In a number of different cases, refusal to adhere to vaccine mandates resulted in individuals being dismissed from their jobs.
The NBA instituted protocols in an effort to deal with the virus, though vaccination was not mandatory.
However, New York City did put a vaccine mandate in place, and that directly affected Irving’s ability to play in home games for the Nets last season. At first, the Nets chose not to play Irving at all before eventually relenting in January of this year.
Irving ended up playing just 29 regular season games for the Nets during the 2021-22 campaign. His absences were costly, considering the fact that he was was able to average 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
Due to Irving’s impassioned stance, he garnered plenty of attention from both sides of the political spectrum. Some individuals hailed him for his courage in speaking out against mandates while others criticized his attitude toward a public health crisis.
The controversy sparked by Irving’s attitude toward the vaccine and issues related to the pandemic is nothing new for the talented guard.
Previously, Irving raised eyebrows by stating his apparent belief that the Earth was flat. He later apologized for those comments, saying that he wasn’t aware of the effect the remarks would have.
— Nicole Yang (@nicolecyang) October 1, 2018
Irving’s comments about vaccine mandates are much more serious in nature, given the life-and-death concerns surrounding the issue. Given the many horrors that have been a part of countless human rights violations in the past, he’s likely to face plenty of heat from critics in the near future.