Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets have been at the center of the NBA media world, thanks to Irving's unwillingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Perhaps the craziest part of the whole situation is that Irving himself claims he is not anti-vaxx. Rather, he says he's against the strict protocols that are pressuring the citizens. According to him, he's giving a voice to those who don't have one by standing up for their right to choose what goes into their bodies.
To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. It is a decision that he believes he is capable to make given his current life dynamics. “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,” one source said.
It's a well-intentioned but misguided cause, and it has drawn criticism from all corners of the media spectrum.
One of the most recent voices to call him out was former Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy, who had this to say on the matter:
"He's not giving a voice for voiceless. They have a voice. I'm not buying that."
Basketball legend Reggie Miller also chimed in on the discussion:
"There's ways to go about it, and when you're dealing with a team-oriented situation like this, you've got to be all-in. You've got to be all-in if you want to win a championship."
Some people love what he's doing, others hate it. Regardless, one thing stands true: the Brooklyn Nets continue to suffer as this controversy rages on.
The distraction this has been for Brooklyn is unprecedented, and it's hard to imagine how anyone on the team can keep their focus amid all the chaos surrounding Irving and the organization as a whole.
If Kyrie wants what's best for his team, he's going to have to control the fallout from his decision.