Kyrie Irving has made him the NBA’s villain du jour with a refusal to get vaccinated for COVID, a stance he has struggled to defend in any logical or coherent way. This stance is particularly problematic because New York City has guidelines in place requiring vaccination for all large indoor gatherings. That means Kyrie can’t legally practice or play with the Nets within the city and the team has said they won’t be using him as a part-time player for road games.
The public health implications of a prominent and outspoken athlete taking a stand against vaccination for reasons that can’t be explained coherently are far more significant than the basketball implications for his team. In particular, his stance brought protesters to Barclay’s Arena before a recent game, trying to push past security and metal barricades to enter.
Some public figures have been supportive of Irving but, in general, it’s been the kind of people you might not want making arguments on your behalf, like noted domestic abuser Floyd Mayweather.
What did Floyd Mayweather have to say about Kyrie Irving?
[Spoiler alert: Mayweather’s defense of Kyrie makes about as much sense as Kyrie’s rationale for his stance. But if you’re hungry for some pseudo-patriotic word salad, here you go.]
“Kyrie, what’s up? I know you’re going through a lot. We had a chance to hang out in 2016, when you represented America – when you represented the Red, White, and Blue. You only want to be treated fairly,” said Mayweather in the video posted to Twitter.
“I was going to post something on one of my social media pages but I decided to do it the old school way and read it out to you because you are a great person, great father, a great athlete and you believe what you believe,” he continued.
“America is the land of the free. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and supposedly, freedom to choose. Never be controlled by money. I respect you for having some integrity and being your own man. A free mind makes his own choices and an enslaved mind follows the crowd. Stand for something or fall for anything. One man can lead a revolution to stand up and fight for what’s right. One choice, one word, one action can change the world. It’s crazy how people hate you for being a leader. I hope your actions encourage many others to stand up and say ‘enough is enough.’”