Kyrie Irving: The Next Pawn in the World’s Political COVID-19 Agendas

Kyrie Irving: The Next Pawn in the Worlds Political COVID-19 Agendas

Kyrie Irving is a cultural icon.

He plays the game of basketball in ways nobody else has before. As a devout Muslim, Irving has done everything he can to be a pure human being. He was crowned NBA champion in 2016, he is a 7x NBA All-Star (2013-2015, 2017-2019, 2021), and even started his professional career out strong, snagging the title of NBA Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Despite his long list of achievements, he still gets an unfair amount of criticism. Whether it be because of his acceptance of fringe conspiracy theories, his mental health break he took in the 2020-2021 season which caused missing a number of games, his behavior towards the Boston Celtics–stomping on their logo after leaving the team scornfully a few years before–or an entirely different reason, the slander towards Irving has been around most of his professional career. Again, Irving is observed through another scandal: his refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19, and what that could mean for his professional career.

Irving, from 2019 to 2021, played for The Brooklyn Nets, a basketball team based in Brooklyn, New York. However, the team is included under a New York vaccine mandate for professional athletes. Due to Irving’s refusal to comply with this COVID-19 vaccine mandate, it is likely he will not play a game as a Brooklyn Net again. Irving has stated through an Instagram Live livestream that this is not the end for him professionally: “Don’t believe that I’m retiring. Don’t believe that, you know, [I’m going to] give this game up for a vaccine mandate or staying unvaccinated.”

If Irving is to be traded, it would have to be into city without mask mandates–that excludes the Lakers, Nicks, Clippers, Warriors, and Kings. He is not the only non-vaccinated athlete, NBA player, or “All Star.” However, it seems like Irving is the only one who gets criticized for it. The top search results when you Google ‘Kyrie Irving’ are about vaccine protests and other politically fueled content; all while another NBA superstar, Bradley Beal, who is also unvaccinated, gets reports exclusively about basketball. Regardless of how you feel about Kyrie Irving’s decision, this is unfair. As Irving continues to not play, people will continue to find reasons to talk about him negatively, and attempt to use him as a guinea pig, a pawn, and a fool to fit into their own political agendas.