If Kyrie Irving needed any indication that he is on the wrong side of history regarding the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, what happened at the Barclays Center on Sunday (Oct.24) was it.
Kyrie Irving was not in the building, nor has he seen an NBA court since the Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks announced that Irving would be benched because he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but his “supporters” were definitely on the scene.
Ahead of the Nets matchup with the Charlotte Hornets, a large group gathered outside the Barclays Center to protest New York City’s vaccine mandates demanding Irving be allowed to play. Per New York protocols, the all-star point guard is not allowed to play in Nets home games, with the organization opting to put its foot down and announcing it would rather bench Irving instead of allowing him to play in away games.
Irving “supporters” showed up wearing shirts with slogans “Stand with Kyrie” and chanting “Let Kyrie play,” the protest quickly got out of hand, giving off Jan.6 insurrection vibes with protestors storming past barricades.
According to Newsday reporter Barbara Baker, supporters of President Donald Trump and people holding Black Lives Matters signs were in the group, plus a reference to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol was heard according to a source. Things got so out of hand the Barclays Center was put on lockdown briefly, but it was quickly opened back up once security and law enforcement got things under control.
The Barclays Center confirmed the lockdown happened in a brief statement.
“Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to clear protestors from the main doors on the plaza and ensure guests could safely enter the arena. Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule.”
Since Irving decided to be a voice for the “voice for the voiceless,” he has become the champion of such individuals like U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump Jr., who have been in staunch opposition of the vaccine mandates. Cruz is vaccinated. It would be a safe bet to assume Trump Jr. has also got the shot.
Irving’s stance on the COVID-19 vaccine may have resulted in him being snubbed from the NBA’s recently announced top 75 greatest players list. Some internet sleuths noticed some deleted articles suggesting that Irving was indeed part of the list. Twitter users also pointed out the NBA’s YouTube page shared a highlight reel of Irving showcasing his on-court skills.
Whatever the case, Kyrie Irving is not hooping, and right now, the Brooklyn Nets have decided to move on without him, even deciding not to offer him a contract extension. NYC has no plans of lifting the COVID-19 vaccine mandates anytime soon, so it could be a while before we see Irving in Brooklyn Nets uniform again.
Photo: Kevork Djansezian / Getty