I’m not sure that anyone thought they would have NBA players on their bingo card of folks standing up for rights and personal freedom.
As we have noted, some players have recently made some powerful statements on the issue including the Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac, Washington Wizard Braley Beal, and Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green.
However, those who opposed the mandate for vaccines and have not been vaccinated now face action by their teams.
The Brooklyn Nets have announced that star Kyrie Irving will not be allowed to play or practice with the team until he gets vaccinated — even outside of New York, where he isn’t necessarily violating any mandates. All Nets and Knicks players must now be vaccinated due to New York’s mandates. Irving is the only New Yorker left standing.
New York Post
“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,” the statement read. “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. His current choice limits his availability to the full-time team. Therefore, we won’t allow anyone on our team to take part in a partial-time role.
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. The championship goals haven’t changed. Each member must work in the same direction to reach these goals. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud.”
So basically, they’re willing to sit their star and drop him out in order to force him to comply even in places where there is no edict preventing him from playing. This could result in them losing their star on the court as well as public opinion. But they’re trying to shut down any pushback. Meanwhile, Irving is risking a lot with this stand — his career with the team and all the millions he would make in the process.
The Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac is another one standing against mandates. He did an interview with the Blaze where he described what his team’s response has been to his stand. Isaac doesn’t advocate for vaccines. However, he was already infected with the virus, and he says that his natural immunity is intact.
But that’s one of the things missing from this mandate push is the recognition that natural immunity does play, as Isaac notes. He says that he isn’t allowed to eat with the team or go to team functions. But then, he’s allowed to walk out of the tunnel with them and then play with them, which he doesn’t think “logically follows.” Natural immunity is being ignored, he says, while this is all about a virus with a “high survival rate.”
“I’m not allowed to go to team functions, or if the team is eating at a restaurant, I can’t eat in the same room as them. To me it just doesn’t logically follow for us then to get on the court together.”
Full interview w/Jonathan Isaac: https://t.co/D4OVlAFc9j pic.twitter.com/wntWbqUt7J
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) October 7, 2021
Isaac had previously spoken out to Fox, saying that “Everyone should be free to make that decision for themselves.”
Jonathan Isaac is a role model in a world where so many athletes are failing to act as good role models. His courage and faith stand out among the rest. https://t.co/iWShFCDIUb
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 5, 2021
“We’re entering a period of time where the government is setting a precedent that in light of any emergency, your personal autonomy, your religious freedom, and honestly your freedom as a whole, becomes negotiable to whoever is in power or whoever agrees with the people in power.”
“We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave and we have to take the opportunity and the platform to say what it is that we feel is right, and I’m taking that right to do so, not just for me, but for all the people who feel like they don’t have a voice, who feel like their rights and their liberties are being threatened at this time.”
It’s hard to say it much better than that.