During Kyrie Irvings time in the NBA, the current Brooklyn Nets guard has used his platform to promote multiple funny but nonsensical conspiracy theories. During a 2017 interview, Irving confirmed that he has a flat-earthera attitude that he proposed later was intended to provoke an open conversation and ultimately advise everyone to do their own research into the shape of the Earth. And even as more than 700,000 have died in the US during the ongoing pandemic, Irving, who is refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, appears to be part of the DIY research crowd. Irvings’ personal choice against the vaccine could result in him spending the entire upcoming NBA season off the field as the Brooklyn Nets will not allow him to practice or play with the team until he is vaccinated.
There are some outspoken anti-vaxxers in the ranks of the leagues, but Irving, as the biggest star among them, has the most to lose. In a statement to reporters on the matter, Irving claimed his opposition to the vaccine is a privacy issue. Everything will be released on an expiration date and once we clear this up, Irving said late last month. I am human first. And of course, if you live in this public sphere, there are just a lot of questions about what’s going on in Kyrie’s world. And I think I would just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and move forward together with a plan. (On Tuesday, unnamed sources claimed told The Athletic that Irving is not anti-vaccine, but is angry that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates.) If Irving puts his anti-COVID vaccine stance in front of his team all season, it could result in his loss more than $ 17 million, or about half his annual salary at the Nets.
In recent weeks, Irving has garnered very little sympathy in the national sports media, with many top commentators panicking at him for abandoning his team in favor of his own interests. I’m sorry if you can’t take a vaccine that more than 6.2 billion people in the world have already taken, trying to claim you think there is some kind of conspiracy going on, ESPN host Stephen A. Smith said during a CNN interview last night, and you want to be so defiant and leave the rest of your team hanging as far as I’m concerned, damn it with you.
Still, Irving is gaining fans on the right as the conservative media has now elevated him as its new darling in the medical autonomy revolution. Among his new supporters is Senator TedCruz, who called on the Houston Rockets to trade for Irving, given that vaccine mandates for Texas workers are banned. In a subsequent comment, Cruz accused the corporate media of trying to silence and coerce Irving. If tyrannical politicians demand that you get an injection, you have NO MEDICAL PRIVACY RIGHTS. You are a sheep and you must obey your meekness, Cruz tweeted. This is disgusting, condescending and wrong. Kyrie shows incredible courage. And while Cruz has often done that… denounced the league and its star players for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Texas Republican let all the NBA’s anti-vax players know that he is on their side. I’m behind Kyrie Irving. I’m with Andre Wiggins. I’m with Bradley Beal. I’m with Jonathan Isaac, he wrote. #YourBodyYourChoice.
Cruz later shared a message from a right-wing radio host jesse kelly, who linked Irving’s position to a group of Southwest Airlines pilots who… Tucker Carlson claimed all called out sick over the companys planned compliance with a federal vaccine mandate. (Southwest’s incoming CEO, Bob Jordan, said the strike rumors were downright untrue.) What happens now is important. I promise you the system is scared, Kelly wrote. FINALLY saw real setbacks from parts of the country that the system hadn’t anticipated. This will catch on. Cheers to Kyrie Irving. And Southwest Airlines pilots. They start something. However, Kelly was quick to let his followers know that he does not support Black Lives Matter, even though he supports anti-vax NBA players. I stopped watching NBA when it was taken over by #BlackLivesMatter communists. And I don’t like Kyrie Irving, he added. But I’m an adult who understands that I’ve been in a fight and don’t have time to wait for the perfect ship to fight these people. We take what we have.
Jason Whitlock, a sports commentator and host at Glenn Becks Blaze network, also compared Irvings’ situation to the Southwest Airlines controversy, tweetToo bad Kyrie doesn’t work for Southwest Airlines. He has colleagues with balls. In a bizarre sequel columnWhitlock, who is black, then praised Irving for coming out and joining the black men [who] escaping the cages that matriarchy, the LGBTQ movement, and liberal orthodoxy have built to tame, house, and emasculate us for the past six decades.
likewise, Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade caused Irving’s race to be mentioned as a way of asking if black Americans would continue to support Joe Biden in light of the federal vaccine mandates he’s taken, he says Kyrie Irving can’t play in New York unless he gets vaccinated. Does President Biden want to take over his base, the African American base that propelled him to the White House? he asked at the beginning of the month. Kilmeade’s colleague Will Cain, who cohosts the weekend edition of Fox & Friends, expressed his shock earlier this month that players in the awakened NBA are now going against that tide… standing up for critical thinking and individuality and standing up to popular thought. On Newsmax, host John Bachman described Irving as championing medical autonomy, just as many of these pilots would in Southwest, while Corin Clark, a guest on the network said Tuesday that she’s happy some of these athletes are speaking out. These have the least risk of COVID, and they even lose their jobs because they don’t get a vaccine that wears off within six months. Although Newsmax host Rob Finnerty informed the public of his personal disdain for Irving, who is an open advocate for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement by calling him one of the least likable guys in the NBA, the conservative pundit also noted that he as much as 10,000% support when it comes to his stance on the jab because it’s not American to get a vaccine.
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