Kyrie Irving has taken to social media to clarify that he is not retiring but will stand by his stance not to get vaccinated despite being told by the Brooklyn Nets if he does not will not be part of the side.
The 29-year-old Nets point guard broke his silence after raging debate on the matter, taking to Instagram Live to provide his side of the story.
New York’s city rules mean players cannot participate in NBA matches unless they have been vaccinated, meaning Irving would miss all of Brooklyn’s home matches.
Nets general manager Sean Marks confirmed on Tuesday that the franchise wouldn’t play Irving on a part-time basis - only for away games meaning until he is vaccinated, he will not be part of the side.
“I am doing what’s best for me,” Irving said.
“I know the consequences here, and if it means that I’m judged and demonised for that, that’s just what it is, that’s the role I play.
“No, I’m not retiring, and no, I’m not going and leaving this game like this. There’s still so much more work to do.
Irving added he harboured no ill-feeling towards the Nets, nor the NBA, despite admitting he was shocked that vaccinations had been mandated.
“This is not about the Nets, this is not about the organisation, its not about the NBA, its not politics,” he said. “It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”
He added: “What would you do, if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you’d have exemptions or you wouldn’t be forced to have to get the vaccine.
“This wasn’t an issue before the season started. This wasn’t something that I foresaw coming and I could prepare for it and I could strategise on what would be best for me and my family. I came into this season thinking I was going to be able to play ball.”