Nets star Kyrie Irving reportedly isn't anti-vaccine but wants to be a 'voice for the voiceless'

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Kyrie Irving layup vs. Pelicans white uniform
Kyrie Irving layup vs. Pelicans white uniform

On Tuesday, the Nets announced that Kyrie Irving, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, will not be allowed to practice with the team or play in road games unless he gets vaccinated.

Because of New York City health rules, Irving was already not allowed to practice at the Nets' facility in Brooklyn or play in games in New York City.

Speaking shortly after training camp opened, Irving refused to answer questions about his vaccination status.

But on Tuesday night, a report by Shams Charania in The Athletic -- citing "multiple sources with direct knowledge of Irving's decision" -- shed light on his reasoning for not getting vaccinated.

Per the report, Irving is "not anti-vaccine." Rather, he is "upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates."

According to The Athletic, Irving has explained the above stance to "close teammates."

Jan 3, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets small forward Kevin Durant (7) high fives point guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center.
Jan 3, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets small forward Kevin Durant (7) high fives point guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center.

Wrote Charania:

"To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. It is a decision that he believes he is capable to make given his current life dynamics. 'Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,' one source said."

Speaking on Tuesday, Nets GM Sean Marks explained the team's decision to not allow Irving to be around the team unless he gets vaccinated.

"I think we had everything on the board," Marks told reporters. "We looked at everything. When you make a decision like this, it’s one you don’t want to do hastily. Again, involve all the parties, think about the variety of all different outcomes. I think we all know what our objective is this year and how a decision like this maybe affects that ultimate objective.

"So, they’re never easy decisions, but at the end of the day, I think we’re looking at putting a group of people out there that are going to be able to participate fully and that’s what this comes down to. We’re not looking for partners that are going to be half-time. I don’t think that would be fair not only on the team, and staff, and ownership, and fans. But, to be quite frank, not fair on Kyrie, either."