“It is not about the money, baby. It is about choosing what is best for you.”
That’s what Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets told the public in an Instagram video Wednesday explaining his decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as the NBA has mandated. Irving’s decision resulted in the Nets, an expected NBA championship contender, excluding the seven-time all-star from their plans for the season. Those plans won’t change until Irving either decides to get the vaccine, or if New York City decides to lift the COVID-19 restrictions that prohibit unvaccinated individuals from entering the Barclays Center, where the Nets play their home games.
In many ways, Irving embodies the ridiculous resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine amid a pandemic that has killed more than 700,000 Americans alone. At the heart of the resistance is not genuine concern about the vaccine’s effects, but rather a personal abdication of responsibility, replaced by a severely warped definition of the word freedom.
We could cite the facts that nearly 200 million Americans have been vaccinated without ill-effect; that close to 99% of them avoided breakthrough infections; that the vast majority of those infected, hospitalized and/or killed by COVID-19 this year are unvaccinated individuals; that the increasing number of vaccinated people helps reduce the spread of the virus, even when it mutates into a more contagious form like the Delta variant.
But the “my body, my choice” anti-vaxxer crowd does not care about the facts; they care only about themselves.
No person is an island on their own. Every decision an individual makes impacts those around them in some way.
By choosing not to get vaccinated, Irving continues to leave himself at risk of a deadly virus. That’s bad enough, but he’s also leaving others at risk of getting COVID-19 from him.
Irving’s in great shape, and if he got COVID-19, chances are that he would survive the infection; he may wind up being completely asymptomatic, but as we all know, you may never suffer so much as a sniffle from COVID-19 and still infect plenty of others.
Has Irving thought about what would happen to those around him if he inadvertently infected them with COVID-19?
Has anyone who made this so-called “personal choice” not to get the vaccine thought for a second about the people they care about and interact with every day?
And if they thought long and hard about their loved ones and friends, and still resist getting the vaccine, what are they inadvertently saying? That looking out for number one means more than looking out for them?
Selfishness throughout this pandemic has caused needless pain, suffering and death — and sadly, that will continue as long as self-serving resisters like Irving fail to take this crisis seriously, and avoid the vaccine.
Secondary to all this, of course, is the Nets’ on-the-court performance suffering as a result of Irving’s self-inflicted absence.
The Nets have learned quickly that there certainly is no “i’ in team — but the i in Irving towers over them all.