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Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving spoke out after New York City announced an end to its COVID vaccine mandate for private-sector employees on Tuesday, calling the requirement among “the biggest violations of human rights in history.”
Irving shared the comments in a viral Twitter post on Tuesday following the announcement by New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams.
“If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired,” Irving wrote.
If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired. ♾🤞🏾
This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history.
— A11Even (@KyrieIrving) September 20, 2022
“This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history,” he added.
Adams said on Tuesday that “the additional flexibility we are announcing for private employers, students, and parents puts the choice back into each of their hands.”
JUST IN: @NYCMayor announces that New York City is updating its COVID-19 measures for private businesses and parents, giving them more flexibility to make their own decisions that are best for them.
Learn more here: pic.twitter.com/tLCWEsxzIp
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) September 20, 2022
New York City’s deputy mayor for health and human services Anne Williams-Isom shared the details that included an end to the vaccine mandate on students participating in sports and extracurricular activities.
“While we continue to adapt to the virus with these changes to vaccine mandates for private-sector employees and students participating in sports and extracurricular activities, we must continue doing our part to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” she said in the statement.
Irving’s comments take on extra meaning following his strong opposition to the city’s vaccine mandate that led to him being unable to play much of last season after refusing to comply. After a brief return to away games in January, he sat out until the city rolled back its rules for indoor events in March.
After missing more than 70 games over the city’s mandate, Irving returned to loud cheers from fans at Barclays Center.
“I made it very clear it was never just about me,” Irving said, despite his team losing the game. “I think for my own legacy, that’s to be written by all those that I impact and all those that impact me, and it’s far bigger than just a basketball game. But when I’m in this locker room, I get a chance to perform with a bunch of guys that are selfless and are sacrificing just as much as I am. It makes it worthwhile.”
Kyrie Irving received loud cheers from fans at Barclays Center during introductions. Irving is playing in his first home game for the Brooklyn Nets since Game 2 versus the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on June 7, 2021. He waved to the crowd before tip off. pic.twitter.com/ZVav5KTsXn
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) March 27, 2022
Irving is among a small number of vocal professional athletes who have opposed the COVID vaccine mandate despite limitations on playing time or other complications.