Kyrie Irving, who was suspended from the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, spoke out about his reasons for refusing to be vaccinated per NBA league rules. He spoke about his refusal, and what he's giving up.
"Make these convictions yourself," he said, "I gotta make these myself. Because it's gonna continue to revolve around this and that and 'yo, you're gonna lose out on money' and 'you're gonna lose out on this.' Like, so what?
"It's not about the money, baby," Irving said. "It's not always about the money it's about choosing what's best for you. You think I really want to lose money? You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after championship?
"Do you think I really just want to give up my job? Do you think I really just want to sit at home and not go after the things with my teammates that I've been able to grow with? To learn with? To learn that it takes sacrifice in this space?" Irving asked.
"Because we could be easily at home chillin' with our families but we're choosing to go out there and perform. You know, and even in that job, like, that that's a dream come true. I've been working on that since I was in fourth grade. You think I want to give up my livelihood because of a mandate? Because I don't have accommodations? Because I'm not vaccinated?" Irving said.
"Come on. I'm not gonna be used as a person in this agenda. You know, like, I'm not. I'm not even gonna speak on that. I'm just saying like, it should be— it should not be divided amongst all of us. It should just be understood and respected."
The Nets management released a statement on Tuesday explaining that Irving would no longer be playing for the team, until such time as he was vaccinated. They said that:
"Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant."
"Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability," team management said.
"It is imperative," they went on to say, "that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud."
Irving is set to lose a significant sum of money. Roughly $380,000 per game will be forfeited and more of $17 million if he misses every Brooklyn game.