- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 13, 2021

For Kyrie Irving, it’s not about the vaccine. It’s about the vaccine mandates. And the firings.

According to a report in The Athletic, the Brooklyn Nets star won’t abide by the NBA’s vaccine mandate to protest employer mandates to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk being fired.

Citing “multiple sources with direct knowledge of Irving’s decision,” the Athletic reported that the star point guard has explained himself to close teammates and said he is not against vaccination per se.

“To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood,” the Athletic wrote.

Irving reportedly believes that his wealth and visibility give him an ability to stand up against unjust control in a way other people may not.

According to the Athletic, the seven-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection has made more than $160 million in direct NBA contracts and has a massive Nike shoe endorsement deal.

“Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,” one source told the sports-news outlet.

The Nets have confirmed that Irving has not been vaccinated, which means he cannot legally play in the team’s home games because of New York City’s indoor public-gathering rules.

While he could theoretically play in most Nets’ road games and be at the team’s practice facility, the team said that won’t happen. The Nets announced Tuesday that Irving will not play or practice with the team until he can participate fully.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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