In the aftermath of a protest outside of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Sunday, in which protesters chanted, “No vaccine mandate, stand with Kyrie!” and waved signs in support of Kyrie Irving’s decision not to adhere to the city’s vaccine mandate, boxing legend Floyd Mayweather has come to the defense of the mercurial NBA superstar.
In a video posted to Twitter, the five-time world champ shared his thoughts on the ongoing standoff between the seven-time NBA All-Star and the team that will not allow him to participate in any practices or games until he takes the vaccine and “is eligible to be a full-time participant.”
“Kyrie, what’s up?” Mayweather begins. “I know you’re going through a lot. We had the chance to hang out in 2016 when you represented America, when you represented the red, white and blue. You only want to be treated fairly. I was going to post something on my social media pages but I decided to do it the old-school way and read something out to you because you’re a great person, a great father, a great athlete and you believe what you believe.”
Mayweather then goes on to express the importance of freedom and choice and paints Irving as a revolutionary.
“America is the land of the free: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and supposedly freedom to choose,” he continues. “Never be controlled by money. I respect you for having some integrity and being your own man. A free mind makes his own choices and a slave mind follows the crowd. Stand for something or fall for anything. One man can lead a revolution, to stand up and fight for what’s right. One choice, one word, one action can change the world.
“It’s crazy how people hate you for being a leader. I hope your actions encourage many others to stand up and say enough is enough. Respect to you Kyrie and power to the people.”
While it sure as hell isn’t my place to tell Kyrie to accept consultations on freedom of choice from a dude who can’t keep his hands off of women or who may or may not be a homophobe, anyone who encourages you to inspire others to rail against a vaccine that is saving lives in the middle of a pandemic that has already stolen plenty of them might be a fucking idiot. Kyrie is absolutely entitled to make whatever decision is best for himself—I need Texas and whoever else to keep that same energy when it comes to women and their bodies, though—just like New York City has made a decision to institute a stringent COVID-19 mandate it believes is in the best interest of its population.
But please miss me with painting Kyrie as some sort of martyr when the only cause he’s dying for is his own bank account. In order to beat this pandemic, it requires sacrifice and cooperation from every single one of us. And if Kyrie would rather be a hindrance to that end than an actual revolutionary, especially when the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities, that isn’t the type of “leader” anyone should championing.