Kyrie Irving opens on negative comments, insults he received for vaccine stance

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Kyrie Irving opens on negative comments, insults he received for vaccine stance

Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving says his principles and beliefs are of extreme importance to him so he has no regrets over not getting the vaccine. Irving refused to take the vaccine before the season started so the Nets sent him home because they didn't want to have him as a part-time player.

When the Nets became derailed by injuried and COVID-19 protocols, they brought Irving back to the team. Irving stood firm in his decision not to get vaccinated, hoping the New York City vaccine mandate would eventually be lifted and he would be allowed to play in home games.

In late March, New York City Mayor Eric Adams lifted the vaccine mandate for pro athletes and Irving is now allowed to play home games at Barclays Center. "I can really say that I stood firm on what I believed in, what I wanted to do with my body," Irving said after the Nets practiced on Friday, per ESPN.

"I think that should be not just an American right, I think that should be a human right."

Irving on the insults and negative comments

Irving's vaccine stance brought lots of negative attention to the Nets. "I can't address everybody, but as we move forward in time I know that I made the right decision for me," Irving said.

As the time went by, Irving learned how to cope with the situation better. "It's a great feeling when you know during uncomfortable times you can really lean in on different individuals despite their role in different sectors or different places in our organization or things that they stand for," Irving said.

"And some people stood by me in public, some people stood by me in private and I'm OK with both. Some people disagree with me in public, some people disagree with me in private. It doesn't really bother me as much as it did in the beginning of the season, because everything was just so new." Irving was scrutinized for his vaccine stance and he admitted he heard and saw all the negative comments and insults that were thrown at his name.

"I heard everything," he said. "I was called so many different names. ... It was part of a struggle of mine to look at the season, a game that I love -- my job, I can't even keep calling it a game, it's my job -- [for] that to be stripped away based on a mandate or something that was in place."

Kyrie Irving