Kyrie Irving has been a perplexing character for the majority of his NBA career.
There have been a plethora of times where he’s done and said things that have made absolutely no sense, and there have been times where Irving has stepped up when action was needed.
But the stance he has taken on vaccines is the worst of his career. And now the explanation of his stance, “reported” by Shams Charania of The Athletic, fails to bring any measure of common sense to the issue.
Apparently, according to Charania, Irving is not anti-vax, but he’s trying to be a “voice for the voiceless” and an advocate for people who don’t want to lose their jobs if they choose not to adhere to a vaccine mandate.
Irving is as complex of an individual as you’ll ever see in the sports world. We’ve written about this man numerous times.
I understand being led by something bigger than yourself to create change for society, but a key part of that is the ability to distinguish between when defiance is beneficial and when it’s not. Not every stance is worth standing for.
The Shams report, which is garnering public criticism because of how overly positive it sounds for Irving despite his taking a stance that could not only endanger himself, but also thousands of others who may be looking to follow him because of his status, further illustrates the problems with Irving’s decisions.
The inconsistencies in Irving’s stance are breathtaking. First, you can’t claim to be a voice for the voiceless and then hide behind “sources” in an article. Secondly, no one is forcing anyone to get the vaccine. Everyone has the right to do what they want to do, but you will have to face the consequences for not abiding by private company policies.
We are all grown adults that can make decisions for ourselves and live with those consequences. Those people are not “voiceless,” they can control their own career by choosing to get a shot or not.
Lastly, and most importantly, the vaccine is saving the lives of so many individuals in this country regardless of race, sexual orientation, or economic class. If Irving really wanted to help the voiceless people, he would tell them to get a vaccine shot so they could be as safe as possible against a virus that has significantly damaged economically disadvantaged and communities of color over the last two years.
I don’t know about y’all, but if I have to choose between being protected from a deadly virus and still being able to get a paycheck, versus not being able to protect myself against a deadly virus and having no income at the same time, I’m taking the first option.
And Charania’s controversy comes as the journalistic ethics of some of the top new breakers in the sports world have come under scrutiny. Yesterday, an Adam Schefter email leaked, revealing the “NFL insider” sent an entire story to a Bruce Allen, a Washington Football Team executive at the time, that was set to publish later that day. In the email, Schefter called the executive “Mr. Editor,” and told him to “please let me know if you see anything that should be added, changed, tweaked.”
The story opened up a conversation about what journalism on the highest level should look like, especially from people who have made names for themselves as “insiders” and leaders in breaking news.
So if Irving wants to refuse to get vaccinated, he’ll have to deal with the consequences of his actions, and that’s fine by me at this point. He’s a grown man and he has to make his own decisions. But it’s not the media’s job to cover for him. Framing Irving’s stance as that of a “voice for the voiceless” is flawed at best, and asinine at worst.