clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kyrie Irving: Vaccine mandates one of the ‘greatest human rights violations in history’

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Seattle Storm v Los Angeles Sparks Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Back to the future?

About an hour and a half after New York mayor Eric Adams told reporters he’s ending the private employer vaccine mandate but keeping it for city workers, the most prominent critic of his and his predecessor’s policies dropped a tweet...

A few minutes later, he added this...

The hyperbolic comment — slavery, the Holocaust and Trail of Tears would seem to be worse violations than a policy aimed at saving lives rather than taking them — comes as a reminder of Irving’s anti-vaccine stance from last season. He missed 53 games because of the vaccines which in turn led to difficult contract negotiations for him and Kevin Durant’s trade request. It will also add yet another controversial topic to an already crowded Media Day agenda Monday.

Moreover, it was his second controversial social media move in the last five days. Last week, he echoed perhaps the leading conspiracy theorist in the U.S., Alex Jones of InfoWars who has peddled (and made millions off selling) some of the worst lies in recent American history. Specifically, Irving posted a Jones video from 2002 in which Jones suggested that there is a conspiracy by an organization called the “New World Order” to release “diseases and viruses and plagues” as a means of control.

In his tweet Tuesday, Irving seemed to be referring to those who lost their job because of the city’s vaccine mandates, including an estimated 1,500 city workers. There are no numbers on how many private company employees have been terminated ... or what will happen to them now that that mandate has been eliminated. Eli Carter, a Nets development coach, reportedly lost his job under the mandate because of his unvaccinated status. Irving has since supported Carter’s “More than a run” initiative.

Mayor Adams dropped the vaccine requirement for professional athletes like Irving in late March, permitting Irving to finally play at Barclays Center including the NBA playoffs. At the time, Adams took heat from businesses who cried double standard.

The mayor made his comments Tuesday as he began a promotional campaign encouraging city residents to get booster shots aimed directly at COVID’s omicron variant. Adams who got his own booster at City Hall noted as well that “The most scary part of the pandemic may be in our rear view mirror.”

Data collected and analyzed by Brown University and Microsoft AI Health earlier this year suggested that more than 300,000 Americans —including more than 11,000 in New York State — lost their lives to COVID because of some level of vaccine resistance. More than a million Americans have died from COVID, most after vaccines became available.