Kyrie Irving is being ‘deeply irresponsible’ by falling down the ‘anti-vaccine rabbit hole: journalist

Kyrie Irving is being ‘deeply irresponsible’ by falling down the ‘anti-vaccine rabbit hole: journalist
Kyrie Irving in 2017, Wikimedia Commons

Far-right MAGA Republicans often demonize African-American basketball stars for having liberal/progressive politics, but the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving has recently been praised by the MAGA crowd for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, however, has a very different viewpoint. In his October 14 column, the liberal opinion writer stresses that Irving's decision is irresponsible and reckless — not heroic or principled.

"The City of New York mandates that Nets players be vaccinated before they can play in their home arenas," Robinson explains. "Irving is the only stubbornly unvaccinated Net. Since he would have to sit out roughly half the team's schedule, Nets management has wisely decided it's best he not play at all."

On Instagram, Irving argued that he is being unfairly singled out, posting, "Why are you putting it on me?" But Robinson doesn't buy that argument.

"Cue the violins," Robinson writes. "I don't respect his 'choice' at all. As for why we're 'putting it on' him, we are battling together to defeat a highly infectious virus that has killed more than 720,000 Americans. We have a trio of safe and effective vaccines that slow the spread of the virus and confer miraculous protection against serious illness and death. Irving's choice threatens not just his own health, but also — should he be infected — that of his fellow players, his coaches and trainers, the referees who call the games, and the fans who come to see the Nets play."

Robinson notes that Irving, in 2017, claimed that the world was flat — a claim he later renounced, saying, "I was, like, huge into conspiracies. And everybody's been there."

The columnist emphasizes, "That's precisely the problem. Far too many Americans are 'huge into conspiracies,' and it is deeply irresponsible for famous athletes to encourage them to go down the anti-vaccine rabbit hole."

Robinson goes on to note the hypocrisy of far-right pundits like Fox News' Laura Ingraham. When NBA star LeBron James criticized then-President Donald Trump in 2018, Ingraham wanted him to "shut up and dribble."

Robinson says of Ingraham and James, "She was wrong, of course. Athletes have every right to use the megaphone their fame gives them to speak out on issues they care about. And I believe they should be treated as though their views matter — which means pushing back when they say things that make no sense or are harmful to society."

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