Choices and consequences

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Oct. 14—A week ago, I was considering expressing my thoughts on NBA star Kyrie Irving and his dangerous COVID-19 vaccine stance but changed course.

Well, that Brooklyn Nets knucklehead is still out there saying very Kyrie-like things, which is to say he's not making any sense.

Irving is one of a few NBA holdouts still refusing to get the vaccine.

Some have said he is being selfish for harboring personal doubts or suspicions about the vaccine.

I don't believe Irving is a selfish person. He is one who has donated large portions of his salary for various charitable causes, championed social justice issues including Black Lives Matter, Breonna Taylor, the Sioux and has been a huge supporter of the WNBA.

For these reasons, he and others like Lebron James were told by right wing politicians and media to "shut up and dribble" because it did not fit with their political agenda.

But now that same group of conservatives is thrilled with Kyrie and is holding him up as some kind of poster boy for freedom because he refuses to get the vaccine they have all gotten themselves.

Remember, we aren't talking about some experimental drug being forced upon the American people against their will. The vaccine has been proven to be highly effective at limiting transmission and nearly eliminates the possibility of hospitalization or death from a virus that has killed over 700,000 people in this country. It was only approved after decades of work with mRNA technology and extensive trials that showed true efficacy.

But Irving, a self-described conspiracy theory enthusiast, isn't buying it.

The guy who claims the earth is flat is not on board.

He released a video this week in an effort to explain his stance. But, after two minutes of utter nonsense and incoherent thought, it was an attempt that came up short of whatever it was he was trying to say.

In one segment, he said "You really think I want to give up my dream to go after a championship? Do you think I really just want to give up my job? You think I really just want to sit at home and not go after the things with my teammates that I've been able to grow with and learn with?"

Well, considering the city in which his team plays has a law in place that will not allow unvaccinated players to play, the answer to all three questions has to be "yes."

The Nets, a team that enters the season with very real championship aspirations, said Tuesday that Irving will not be allowed to play with the team until his vaccination status changes.

Irving claims he isn't anti-vaccine but rather anti-mandate, an argument I've heard many times from a great many people who had to take a great many vaccines in order to attend school and one that doesn't hold any water for me.

Everyone's workplace has certain requirements, rules and regulations — also known as mandates — that, if not followed, would result in termination. If we drink alcohol on the job or embezzle from our employer, we get fired. Those are mandates.

Irving is right about one thing. This is about personal choice.

But choices are not free from consequences.

His current decision means he will not be permitted to play basketball for Brooklyn this season.

The Nets choice means they will have a harder time meeting their team goals.

But considering over 97% of deaths and 95% of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated patients, the Nets decision yields far more positive consequences than Kyrie's.

I'm sure that's an outcome Brooklyn — and a great many other people — can live with.

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.

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