Kyrie Irving has spoken publicly for the first time since being held out of games and practice due to refusing vaccination.
Taking to Instagram Live late on Wednesday night, Irving began by assuring fans that reports of his potential retirement were not true.
“Don’t believe that I’m retiring,” Irving said. “Don’t believe I’m gonna give up this game… don’t believe any of that sh*t man.”
Irving went on to say he was not anti-vaccine, but that his problems were with mandates that forced people to choose between their jobs and getting vaccinated.
“If you choose to get a vaccine, I support you. If you choose not to get a vaccine, I support you,” he said. “But don’t be judging what other people are doing with their lives.
“There should not be a divide here. We should be accommodating everyone equally. But to demonize and judge and point the finger, think about what type of position that puts that person in.”
The Nets guard added that he had nothing but admiration for the medical community.
“I respect all the doctors, all the physicians working hard, working diligently, trying to find an answer to all this too. In the times that we’re in, I show nothing but respect to them. They’re working hard to make sure we stay safe. I respect that… but now’s not the time to be divided.”
Irving said he “prayed” for those who lost loved ones to Covid-19.
He also clapped back at his critics, saying none of the people who had called him out would ever say anything to his face.