Sometimes all it takes is a spark to change the tides of history. And that spark may have been provided by the unlikeliest of heroes: Brooklyn Nets star player Kyrie Irving.
On Sunday, protesters crashed through the barricades at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York bearing an American flag and shouting anti-vaccine mandate slogans like “no more mandates!” and urging the NBA to “let Kyrie play.” Watch the explosive moment:
The anti-vaccine mandate protesters were wearing shirts like “Freedom over Fear” and “Stand with Kyrie” as they stormed towards the arena while security finally gave up trying to stop them all.
What is striking about the protesters is how racially, ethnically, and ostensibly, politically diverse they appear to be. This shows that there is starting to become a broader coalition of understanding among people of different backgrounds that these vaccine mandates are wrong, even if you advocate that at-risk people take the vaccines to protect their health.
New Yorkers have been protesting off and on since mid-September. A teacher’s group protesting mandatory vaccinations marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, while some protesters chanted f*ck Joe Biden.
All over new York.. we are awake.
New Yorkers take over Brooklyn pier in protest against covid vaccine mandates, chanting "fuck Joe Biden" 🙌🏻
CC: Leeroy Press. pic.twitter.com/q4WXPyvVsi
— The Patriot Party NY🇺🇸🦅 (@bayview_concret) September 14, 2021
But the Barclays incident feels different. The broader understanding on display in the footage is also reflected in Joe Biden’s plummeting approval ratings, including on the pandemic.
“Gallup’s latest polling conducted from October 1 to 19 shows the president’s approval rating among voters who don’t identify with either major political party has plummeted by double digits since June,” Newsweek recently reported. “Only about a third (34 percent) of independents said they approve of Biden—a drop of 21 percentage points since the same survey was carried out four months back.”
While Kyrie Irving was crucified in the press for being a ‘selfish’ NBA player, there was a selfless reason that he stuck to his refusal to surrender to the league mandate. According to a report by the sports publication “The Athletic,” Kyrie didn’t refuse to comply because he is against vaccines. He refused to comply because of millions of Americans are losing their jobs over the unlawful and un-issued federal vaccine mandate.
“Irving is not anti-vaccine and that his stance is that he is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates,” The Athletic reported.
The Athletic also reported that Irving views the situation as a “grander fight than the one court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood,” the publication’s sources told it.
Charles Barkley recently took Irving to task over his personal decision to resist that anti-vaccine mandate, while misrepresenting his stance and misunderstanding the science.
“First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people,” Barkley claimed. “I got vaccinated. I can’t wait to get the booster.”
“You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself,” he went on. “Like Adam said, you get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second.”
The CDC has admitted that vaccines do not stop the spread, and there were similar viral loads found between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Furthemore, it is becoming increasingly clear that vaccines provide a significant vector for the transmission of the Delta virus. The long-term side effects of the vaccine are still unknown, and there are case studies that show vaccines can occasionally trigger a dangerous condition where virus variants (or serotypes) are made deadlier due to Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE). Barkley is not weighing the risks, nor acknowledging that vaccines do not significantly stop the spread of the virus.
Kyrie Irving last week went on Instagram’s video streaming service and made public comments about his personal decision. The mainstream press is frankly too afraid to fairly portray what Irving said, so people are encouraged to watch him explain it himself below.
KYRIE ON IG LIVE 🔥
— NetsWorld.org (@NetsWorldOrg) October 14, 2021
Kyrie Irving made it clear he cares about other things beside money. The NBA player is putting his money where his mouth his, too: He stands to lose an estimated $17 million if he holds out all season.
Irving was recently suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for refusing to comply with the team’s ultimatum, despite a recent court ruling that he could practice with the team. Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks announced: “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,” Marks said. “It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice.”
Kyrie Irving’s age demographic and physical fitness level give him a risk profile for vaccine-induced heart inflammation that is approximately as serious as that of Covid-19 itself. The NBA “owners” are nonetheless telling the players they should “sacrifice” their bodies for the greater good. NBA player Jonathan Isaac, who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the past and thus has natural immunity, gave a similar position as Irving’s as he defended the right for people to control what is going into their own bodies.
“I’m not anti-Vax. I’m not anti-medicine. I’m not anti-science,” Issac said in a Sept. 27 press conference. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for every health care worker in person in Orlando, and all across the world that has worked tirelessly to keep us safe. My mom has worked in healthcare for a really long time. I thank God I’m grateful that I live in a society where vaccines are possible, and we can protect ourselves and have the means to protect ourselves for the first in the first place.”
“I’m not ashamed to say that I’m uncomfortable with taking the vaccine at this time. I think that we’re all different. We all come from different places, we’ve all had different experiences, and hold dear to different beliefs,” he said. “What it is that you do with your body when it comes to putting medicine in there should be your choice, free of the ridicule and the opinion of others.”
Isaac said he believed his antibodies, young age, and high level physical fitness put him in a relatively safe place without the aid of the vaccine.
“It would decrease my chances of having a severe reaction but it does open me up to the albeit rare chance with the possibility of having an adverse reaction to the vaccine itself,” he said. “I’m hesitant at this time but at the end of the day, I don’t feel that it is anyone’s reason to come out and say well this is why or this is not why it should just be their decision and you know loving your neighbors not just loving those that agree with you or look like you’re moving the same way that you do, it’s loving those who don’t.”
Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors has faced similar pushback over his personal decision not to initially get the Covid vaccine. However, Golden State Warriors’ ‘woke’ coach Steve Kerr and the team’s owner forced Wiggins to get the jab.
“I guess to do certain stuff, to work and all that, I guess you don’t own your body,” Wiggins said. “That’s what it comes down to. You want to work in society today, I guess they make the rules of what goes into your body and what you do.”
Wiggins had an allergic reaction to Tylenol and had to be prescribed an EpiPen should he get a bad reaction. The stories he has heard about people having bad reactions to vaccines had made him hesitant to get the Covid shots.
“I don’t know what it’s going to do to my body. There’s a lot of stuff. I feel like I could go on for days about why I didn’t want to get it. Most importantly, I don’t know what’s going to happen or what it’s going to do to my body in 10, 15 years, 20 years,” Wiggins said. “What it will do to my kids or my future kids. But I guess it’s something I had to get done.”
In October, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the State of New York’s enforcement of a vaccine mandate that threatens the mass firings of thousands of health workers and public servants.
The court ruling was announced by the Thomas More Society, which is defending a group of 17 health care workers who object to New York State’s vaccine mandate on religious grounds. Judge David Hurd granted their request for an injunction, which stops the state from enforcing the policy, on equal protection and First Amendment grounds.
“Upon review, plaintiffs have established at this early stage of the litigation that they are likely to succeed on the merits of this constitutional claim,” the judge ruled. Thus, New York’s vaccine mandate is almost certainly unconstitutional.
Sports journalists once complained that people who owned teams were called “owners.” Now, they are applauding teams claiming ownership over their player’s bodies. It is inspiring to watch a few of these NBA players speaking out against this infringement of their rights.
If Kyrie Irving, who stands to lose millions of dollars by refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate is willing to stand up to this unjust system, it will draw more attention to the cause of millions of voiceless Americans who stand to lose their livelihoods over the vaccine mandates. It looks like his bravery has provided a rallying cry in New York City. America can only hope that millions will soon join in the stand against Covid tyranny.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.