Kyrie Irving has made his fair share of headlines recently as one of the few members of the NBA who have spoken out against getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The Brooklyn Nets star was absent from the team's media day on Monday -- and could potentially sit out home games, according to ESPN.
Irving, 29, is not permitted to attend the media event at Barclay's Center due to New York's COVID-19 protocols, which state that pro athletes have to show proof of at least one shot in order to practice or play in the city. And although the NBA hasn't put a vaccine mandate in place, it still plans stricter safety protocols for unvaccinated players and is aiming to get every player in the league inoculated.
Nets GM Sean Marks commented recently that he believes the entire team will be vaccinated by the opening of the regular season. However, Irving and his strong anti-vax stance counter that.
"You know, we've had very candid conversations," Marks said last week, via CBS Sports. "Those are individual decisions that, whether it's a staff member or whether a player, (individuals have to) come to terms with. It's obviously out of our control. We are supporting getting the vaccination and putting out a healthy squad."
Irving's stance against the vaccine is particularly intense. According to Rolling Stone, he has taken to following and liking social media posts claiming "'secret societies' are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for 'a plan of Satan.'"
Nets teammate Kevin Durant was asked about Irving's vaccine stance on Monday and tried to take a middle-of-the-road approach.
"That's on Kyrie, and that's his personal decision," Durant said. "What he does is not on us to speculate what may happen, but we trust in Kyrie, and I expect us to have our whole team at some point."
The Nets' first preseason game is set for October 8 in Brooklyn.