Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets revealed he turned down a multiyear contract extension worth around $100 million because he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19. During the Nets’ media day on Monday, Irving revealed that the team offered him an ultimatum regarding his vaccination status and the completion of a deal.
Irving expected the two sides to reach an agreement on a new contract before the start of training camp in 2021.
Irving stated on Monday, “I gave up four years, $100,000,000, and decided to remain unvaccinated, and that was the decision. “There is some ambiguity regarding your future, including whether you will play in this league and for this team, if you will sign this contract, and whether you will get vaccinated or not. I had to cope with the real-life situation of losing my work as a result of my choice.”
“I didn’t realize how my lack of a vaccination within my career became a stigma that I don’t want to play, or that I’m prepared to sacrifice everything to be a voice for the voiceless,” the speaker said.
Despite Irving’s assertions, Sean Marks, the general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, did not concur with Irving’s assessment of the talks between the two parties.
No deadline is being set here, according to Marks. “Once more, the point is that you want people who are dependable, present, and accountable. We’re all of us: employees, athletes, coaches, you name it. It’s not making someone get vaccinated immediately. That is a wholly individual decision. I support Kyrie. I believe he has already decided what he wants to do. He is entirely free to do that.”
Irving was only able to play in 29 games in the 2021–22 season due to a COVID-19 vaccination requirement in New York City. The Nets point guard was consequently unavailable to represent the squad at home games.
The four-year, $136.4 million contract Irving inked when he joined fellow superstar Kevin Durant in Brooklyn in 2019 is already in its last year. In the final year of his contract, the Nets star is expected to earn $36 million.