According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Brooklyn Nets will no longer be offering Kyrie Irving a $186 million extension.
Kyrie Irving just might do enough off the court to take himself out of the game this season.
When the Brooklyn Nets made it clear that they would abide by citywide precautions and mandate vaccinations for their players, Irving took a stand. Irving has continuously refused the COVID-19 vaccine: not because he’s anti-vaccine, but because he sees himself as “a voice for the voiceless” who don’t want vaccine mandates.
The move just cost Irving more than a couple of games — it’s not costing him a couple of seasons and millions of dollars.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Irving is reportedly missing out on an extension that would have given the Brooklyn point guard $186 million.
As long as Irving is unvaccinated, he will not receive the $16 million in his contract for the 2021-22 season as well.
Kyrie Irving loses out on $186 million Nets extension for anti-vaccine stance
While Irving claims he wants to represent those who don’t have a voice, his refusal to become vaccinated is already influencing fellow NBA players to push back against vaccine policies.
According to a Rolling Stone report, Irving is following conspiracy theorists who believe the vaccine is a part of “a plan for Satan.”
Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
While Irving is famous for believing the flat earth conspiracy, his influential position in the NBA means that dangerous anti-vaccine rhetoric may become more widespread and validate with Irving’s public support.
If Irving is doing this all just to support others, which is what he claims, then it was an ill-informed decision that just cost him his future with the Nets.