Kyrie Irving's vaccination status was a controversial subject last season. However, people respected his decision and his beliefs, and he got league-wide support even from those who didn't agree with that.
He was unavailable for most of the season, and that eventually took a toll on the Brooklyn Nets' chemistry. Nonetheless, people still stood by his right and his freedom to make a decision and stand up for what he believed in.
Eventually, the Nets had dozens of reasons not to want Kyrie on the team anymore, but not because of his vaccination status. Fast-forward to today, and the controversial guard still hasn't gotten the whole picture.
Kyrie Irving Says Nets Didn't Offer Him An Extension Because Of His Vaccination Status
Kyrie claimed that he was all-in on the Nets and that he wanted to grow and build from last season. He must've changed his mind, as the very first thing he did on media day was stir the pot again and take a shot at the team, claiming they didn't sign him to an extension because of vaccination:
"Kyrie Irving on extending with Brooklyn: 'We were supposed to have all of that figured out before training camp last summer.' Says he and the Nets couldn't come to an agreement because of his vaccination status," reported Matt Broks. "I gave up 4 years, 100-something million to be unvaccinated," Kyrie said.
Nets GM Sean Marks Denies Kyrie's Take On Vaccination
Needless to say, those words didn't sit well with Nets GM Sean Marks — Yes, that's the very same guy he and Kevin Durant tried to get fired just a couple of weeks ago — who categorically denied those allegations:
"There's no ultimatum being given here," Marks said. "Again, it goes back to you want people who are reliable, people who are here, and accountable. All of us: staff, players, coaches, you name it. It's not giving somebody an ultimatum to get a vaccine. That's a completely personal choice. I stand by Kyrie. I think if he wants, he's made that choice. That's his prerogative completely."
Marks acknowledged that it was ultimately New York City's vaccination mandate, coupled with Irving's anti-vaccination decision, that stalled conversations about the future.
"So two summers ago, that was pre-citywide, statewide mandates that went in," Marks said. "So once the vaccine mandates came in, and we knew how that would affect [Irving] playing home games and so forth, that's when contract talks stalled. So it didn't get to [a point], 'Here's the deal, now take it back.' That never happened."
The Nets need to win, and the COVID-19 vaccine was lifted. So, there's no point in forcing Kyrie to take the vaccine anymore. Instead, the Nets didn't offer Kyrie an extension because of his long and well-documented history of lack of commitment, insubordination, and lack of accountability with the organization.
Kyrie disappeared without even giving them a reason in his first season. He alleged he was going through personal stuff, yet was spotted partying. He then disrespected Steve Nash from day one, claiming that he didn't think of him as a coach and everybody could coach.
Irving followed his dance of destruction by reportedly driving James Harden away mid-season, and then was a no-show in their first-round sweep in the playoffs and later tried to get the coach and GM fired. The nerve on this guy...