Kyrie Irving following and liking conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines

Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
Source: Matt Sullivan @ Rolling Stone

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Yu Fu @YuFuTroy
Kyrie’s best friend PM

Stefan Bondy @SBondyNYDN
This anti-vax stuff about Kyrie Irving is pretty wild PM

Sopan Deb @SopanDeb
What a piece from @sullduggery. Kyrie Irving’s aunt says Irving isn’t going to try to get a religious exemption to get around being an anti-vaxxer. He’s going to try to get around the rules.… PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Since many have asked about Kyrie Irving, no I dont 100% know his vaccination status. That’s personal. Yes, he was courtside at the Sept. 12 #Sparks game. But the rules there vary based on 1) where he was sitting and 2) WNBA & LA County. They go by the stricter rule. #Nets #NBA9:28 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
#Suns Devin Booker 16th on @SInow #NBA Top 100.
Ahead of 24th Donovan Mitchell, 20th Zion Williamson, 19th Kyrie Irving, 18th Chris Paul and 17th Trae Young, but behind 15th Bradley Beal, 14th Jimmy Butler, 13th, Jayson Tatum, 12th Paul George.
Thoughts? PM

Chris Broussard @Chris_Broussard
Can you blame Belichick for never ‘evolving’ with Brady? Why are folks so quick to crown Mac Jones? Should the Nets consider trading Kyrie? & more! Guests: @GregJennings @MichaelSHolley
Catch us live weeknights 7-10p ET on @FoxSportsRadio & @iHeartRadio…1:07 PM

David Aldridge @davidaldridgedc
ICYMI: Injury updates on key players, including Klay Thompson, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving and others going into camps next week, in @The Athletic (w/50 percent off for new subscribers by clicking on the link): AM

Kurt Helin @basketballtalk
Kyrie Irving reportedly unvaccinated, could miss Nets home games…5:25 PM

Anthony Puccio @APOOCH
Love him or hate him: Kyrie Irving is one of the most compelling athletes in our time. – 4:21 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Unvaccinated #NBA players could be sidelined in some markets in 2021-22 season. This report cites multiple sources saying Kyrie Irving is among them. #Nets…3:41 PM

Stefan Bondy @SBondyNYDN
Kyrie Irving is among the unvaccinated players, per ⁦@Yaron…3:23 PM

Sean Highkin @highkin
“One player who could be affected is Nets guard Kyrie Irving. According to multiple league sources, Irving has yet to receive a vaccine shot.”…3:12 PM

David Aldridge @davidaldridgedc
With NBA camps opening next week, updates on a number of key players returning or still rehabbing injuries-from Klay Thompson to Joel Embiid to Kyrie Irving and James Harden-in @The Athletic: PM

The Jump @_Talkin_NBA
ESPN’s #NBArank for the 21-22 season from 25 to 6:
25. Rudy Gobert
24. Karl-Anthony Towns
23. Zion Williamson
22. Jrue Holiday
21. Bam Adebayo
20. Kyrie Irving
19. Khris Middleton
18. Donovan Mitchell
17. Trae Young
16. Jimmy Butler
#NBATwitter8:55 AM

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More on this storyline

“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?” -via Rolling Stone / September 26, 2021

Isaac considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities. He rejects the NBA’s proposal for a vaccine mandate and social distancing for players like him during team travel: “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus? To me, it doesn’t seem logically consistent. “If you are vaccinated, in other places you still have to wear the mask regardless. It’s like, ‘OK, then what is the mask necessarily for?’” Isaac continues. “And if Kyrie says that from his position of his executive power in the NBPA, then kudos to him.” -via Rolling Stone / September 26, 2021

A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to a list of questions regarding his vaccination and playing status, and Irving did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone. But as teams return to pre-season training camps next week, fifty to sixty NBA players have yet to receive a single vaccine dose, league sources tell RS. Most are considered merely reluctant skeptics. Some of the holdouts, however, amount to their own shadow roster of anti-vaxxers mounting a behind-the-scenes resistance to Covid protocols — and the truth. -via Rolling Stone / September 26, 2021