Stan Van Gundy poked a giant hole in Kyrie Irving’s supposed reasoning for refusing his vaccination.
“The only thing I’m going to disagree with is this whole ‘voice for the voiceless’ thing,” Van Gundy, the former coach and current analyst on TNT broadcasts. “The anti-vax people right now are not without a voice.
“I live in Florida, man. There are prominent people — our governor [Republican Ron DeSantis], who is making laws to make sure people have a choice and everything. So I’m not buying that those people are voiceless. They are very, very, very, very represented in our society right now. And they’re not underground. It is prominent people — politicians, elected leaders. So he’s not giving voice to the voiceless. They have a voice.”
Irving has become an unlikely hero for conservatives because of his vaccine stance, with right-wingers Ted Cruz, Donald Trump Jr. and even Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeting their support. Irving hasn’t coherently explained why he’s taken such a hardline stance against receiving the vaccine, but garnered further support from conservatives by stating “people are losing jobs to mandates” in a rambling Instagram Live session.
“You think I want to give up my livelihood because of a mandate?” Irving said. “Because I don’t have accommodations? Because I’m unvaccinated? Come on. I’m not going to be used as a person in this agenda.
“It’s not about the Nets. It’s not about the organization. It’s not about the NBA. It’s not politics. It’s not any one thing that I’m pinpointing. It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”
NYC’s vaccine mandate rendered Irving unable to compete in home games, and the Nets banished Irving rather than allow him to be a part-time player for the road.
According to The Athletic, Irving is refusing the jab because he “wants to be a voice for the voiceless.”
“I understand, to a certain degree, not a lot, but I understand where Kyrie is coming from,” NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Reggie Miller said Friday. “He has every right to think this out. Do his own homework and do whatever he wants because it’s his choice. On the flip side, we are dealing with a team sport. And just as he has every right to not want to be vaccinated because he’s speaking for the voiceless and he has an agenda here, the Nets also have an agenda and that’s winning a championship. And they have every right — which I 100% agree with — you cannot be a part-time employee and reap the benefits.”
Van Gundy echoed Miller’s sentiment while supporting the NYC’s mandate.
“I agree with what New York City did,” Van Gundy said. “I agree with how the league’s handled it I agree with how the Nets handled it. And Kyrie can make his own decisions but there’s consequences — not only for him, but for the team.”
Despite Irving’s indefinite absence from the team, Miller pegged the Nets as title favorites. It just might be a little harder.
“Before this whole Kyrie situation, as Moses Malone said, God rest his soul, it was ‘four, four, four, four.’ [sweep the entire playoffs]. No question,” Miller said. “Hands down, they were the best team. It wasn’t even close. Let’s say Kyrie doesn’t play or plays half the games or whenever he comes back or gets traded, to me they’re still the favorite. Maybe then there’s a six-game series. Possibly a seven-game series.”