Hot topics | Coronavirus pandemic

Kyrie Irving, Nets' Kyry Irving: COVID-19 vaccine, nets decision to leave him | How much he stands to lose | What if a Net goes without him?

Kyrie Irving, Nets' Kyry Irving: COVID-19 vaccine, nets decision to leave him | How much he stands to lose | What if a Net goes without him?

Kyrie Irving is not a fan of the Brooklyn Nets anymore, and the seven-time All-Star is OK with that.

Irving, who grew up in West Orange, N.J., has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. Because of the local coronavirus protocol, he is not eligible to play in basketball matches in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

Irving spoke about his decision on Instagram Live Wednesday. According to ESPN: "Among the highlights, there's the 'Saturday Evening Standard'.

I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, which I would like you to respect.... You really think I want to lose money? You think I'm going to give up on my dream to win a championship? You think I'm going to give up my job? I really want to sit at home and not chase after the things with my teammates that I have been able to grow with, to learn with and to understand that sacrifice in this area. You think I want to give up my livelihood because of a mandate, because I dont have accommodations, and because my vaccination status is unvaccinated? Come on, come on.

So how much money will this likely cost Irving? The Athletics Shams Charania appeared on The Glue Guys on Wednesday. Per Yahoo Sports:

(Irving) was willing to sacrifice, at the end of the day, $16 million in salary this upcoming year and $186 million as far as an extension that he wont be offered now,

Irving, on the other hand, tried to emphasize that his vaccine decision is more than a business decision.

This is my life. I get to do whatever I want with this, this is one body that I acquire here. And you're telling me what to do with my body.... This has everything to do with what is going on in our world. And I am being grouped into something that is bigger than just basketball. It's not about being anti-vax or being on one side or the other. It's just about being true to what feels right for me. I am well aware of the consequences of my actions.

Irving had not spoken publicly since Sept. 27, when he attended Nets media day online. But on Wednesday, the guard stated that he wont be leaving the area into the sunset.

I'm going to just continue to be in shape, ready to play, be ready for rocking out with my teammates, and just be a part of this whole thing. This isn't a political thing, this is not relating to the NBA, and it is never going to be pertaining to any organization. This is my life and what I'm going to do. Nobody is stealing this voice.... And no, I am not retiring. I am not going and leaving this game like this.

On Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team wouldnt be held hostage by Irvings vaccination status.

Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is fully qualified to be a full participant, given the rapidly changing nature of the situation and after extensive discussion. Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual choice. Currently, the choice limits his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not allow any member to participate with part- time availability. It is imperative that we continue to foster chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-held 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 work in the same direction. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the Brooklyn Borough proud.

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Mike Rosenstein can be reached at mrosenstein@njadvancemedia.com.

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