Kyrie Irving says that his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine cost him a multiyear contract extension worth millions although he’s still raking in a little of a third of what he could’ve earned this season alone. The star Brooklyn Nets guard doubled down on his stance to not get the jab and positioned himself as the “voice of the voiceless.”
Kyrie Irving spoke to the press earlier this week for a Brooklyn Nets media day event this past Monday (Sept. 26) and spoke candidly on how his decision to remain unvaccinated put him at odds with the team, his sponsors, and the NBA at large according to a report from Deadline.
“I gave up 4 years, $100-something million deciding to be unvaccinated,” Irving said at the press event. “That was the decision, it was: contract…get vaccinated or be unvaccinated and there’s a level of uncertainty of your future — whether you’re going to be in this league, whether you’re going to be on this team — for this decision.”
Irving, who turned 30 this past March, is one of the better players in the NBA but has gained the reputation of being eccentric, which naturally doesn’t have anything to do with his play on the court. However, Irving said at the event that his stances and outlook on the world beyond basketball have just as much importance as his profession.
“I understood all the Nets points. And I respected it and I honored it, and I didn’t appreciate how me being vaccinated, all of a sudden, came to be a stigma within my career that I don’t want to play, or I’m willing to give up everything to be a voice for the voiceless,” Irving added.
“And which I will stand on here and say that, that wasn’t the only intent that I had, was to be the voice of the voiceless, it was to stand on something that was going to be bigger than myself and I was going to understand probably far into the future.”
Check out another video clip of Kyrie Irving at the Brooklyn Nets press event below.