ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith read the report on why Kyrie Irving remains unvaccinated. You are not buying the supposed explanation of the Nets star.
After Brooklyn announced Tuesday that Irving will not practice or play games with the team until he is “eligible to be a full participant,” Athletic’s Shams Charania published a report revealing the details behind Irving’s stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. The seven-time All-Star is not against vaccines or science, sources told Charania, but he worries that people “will lose their jobs because of vaccine mandates.”
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“Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,” a source told Charania.
(As noted by Ben Collins of NBC News, this is a common refrain among those in anti-vaccine groups online. Irving has yet to directly express his thoughts on vaccinations, only saying on Brooklyn media day that he would “love to keep that private and handle it in the right way with my team”).
During Wednesday’s “First Take,” Smith criticized Irving, telling the panel of Molly Qerim Rose, Jay Williams and Marcus Spears that Irving’s reported reasoning for refusing to get vaccinated is “completely stupid.”
“I’ve been covering the NBA for almost 25 years,” Smith said. “I mean, this is some of the stupidest nonsense I’ve ever seen. Just stupid. So let me clarify this. So if the reports are true, because we don’t know if they are or not, okay. But let’s give it to you. Credit to Shams and others who have reported this. It is what it is. Let’s go with it, okay? If it’s true Jay, if it’s true Marcus, then you don’t have a problem with the vaccine? Your position is that Will you sit there and compromise the championship aspirations of an organization you sign up to represent?
“You convinced Kevin Durant to sign to represent. You played a role in persuading James Harden to sign to represent. You’re going to compromise all of that because you want to give a voice to the voiceless. Really? And how is that? “Are you going to work for you, Kyrie Irving? Are you going to disappear from the basketball game? Who the hell is going to be interested in what you have to say when you’ve shown that you can’t even be trusted enough to do yours?” ? Damn job?
Smith added that he thinks Irving is smart and his “heart is in the right place,” but he’s being too self-righteous in his position.
“It not only makes you look hypocritical and unreliable. It makes you see what I know you are not, which is completely stupid,” Smith said. “It’s the stupidest thing I think I’ve come across with an NBA player. You’re going to sit up there and not play and not get a vaccine that you obviously have no problem with,” according to the report. “You only want to give voice to the voiceless? Really?”
Under current New York City COVID-19 guidelines, unvaccinated Knicks and Nets players cannot enter their home arenas for games. In a statement Tuesday, Brooklyn General Manager Sean Marks stated that while the organization respects Irving’s election, “it will not allow any member of our team to participate on a part-time basis.”
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice,” Marks said in the statement. “Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals, every member of our organization must go in the same direction.
“We are excited about the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make Brooklyn Borough proud.”