Nets star Kyrie Irving, who missed nearly two-thirds of last season due to his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine, ripped New York’s latest vaccine mandate decision.
After New York mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday that he’s ending the private employer vaccine mandate but keeping it for city workers, Irving took to social media to label it a human rights violation of historic proportions.
“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. “This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history.”
Some might suggest that is slight hyperbole, but New York’s COVID vaccine requirements have been arguably the strictest in the country. Irving’s steadfast refusal to adhere to them saw him limited to just 29 games last regular season and only six home tilts at Barclays Center, once the city loosened rules for unvaccinated athletes and entertainers in March.
A City Hall rep had no comment when asked by The Post about Irving’s critique.
Irving should be available for this upcoming season. That, plus Ben Simmons’ Nets debut and the likes of Joe Harris returning from surgery, should give Brooklyn a healthier roster.
“That’s all that matters. That’s all that matters,” Irving said Sunday on the Boyz Night Out podcast. “All the hypotheticals that come when nobody is healthy and when you’re not 100%.”
Irving added that his vaccine stance was larger than the missed games.
“I played 29 games, I barely played home games. It wasn’t a typical season I would have wanted. But things happen,” Irving said. “I had to stand on a whole bunch of bigger stuff than just that.”
Now Irving will continue to stand on his belief that the municipal workers should be free to be unvaccinated, as the private sector employees now are.
“Our vaccinated workforce kept the city open and operating, with over 300,000 employees it was crucial to put it in place and we’re keeping it in place,” Adams said while getting his booster at City Hall. “Our vaccinated workers have carried out their jobs and stepped up when the city needed them the most and we think it’s imperative to send the right message and lead by example.”
Mayor Adams added that 89 percent of New Yorkers, including children, have been vaccinated. As such, the vaccine requirements for New York City schoolchildren to play sports and other higher-risk extracurricular activities are also being dropped. The city was still encouraging vaccines and boosters.
“The rollout has been important and crucial and because we’ve been so successful, it’s time to move on to the next level of fortifying our city,” Adams said. “This puts the choice in the hands of New Yorkers. It’s imperative we’re asking them to continue to encourage their employees to get their vaccines and booster shots.”
When asked about the municipal mandate – which led to over 1,500 city employees being terminated – Adams said no end date was imminent.
Irving – who donated money out of his own pocket to help support WNBA players when the league was shut down due to COVID-19 – had also said he planned to help the municipal workers who had lost their jobs.