‘He’s Gotta Be The Top Idiot In The Country Right Now’ | Legendary Blowhards Charles Barkley And Howard Stern Blast Kyrie Irving

Charles Barkley is not feeling Kyrie Irving, but at least he didn’t refer to him as a “douchebag” like radio icon Howard Stern did recently. Either way, the list of celebrities attacking Irving’s charcter because of his vaccination choice continues.

Barkley used his position from the host desk of NBA on TNT to take on Irving‘s decision not to get the vaccine.

Charles’ Bark

“First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people. I got vaccinated, I can’t wait to get the booster. You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself. Like Adam (Silver) said, you get vaccinated for your family first; you get vaccinated for your teammates second, things like that.
“That’s what bothers me about this whole thing; I think everybody should get vaccinated. Let me tell you something; I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down, for saying no, we’re not going to do this half on, half off. Only thing that bugs me, he’s still going to make $17 million sitting at home. I wish they could find a way – if he wants to go on this thing.”

The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving earlier this month, restricting him from playing or practicing with them until he could be a full participant. The lack of being vaccinated ends the speculation that Irving could play in only road games.

New Rules

New York and San Francisco’s indoor vaccine mandate requires professional athletes playing for teams in their respective cities to be vaccinated to play or practice in public venues.

Irving was able to practice with the team during the preseason when the Nets practice facility was designated a private one.

Irving, 29, was slated to earn $34.9 million this season. However, now he will not be paid for any of the Nets’ home games costing his salary around 50 percent.

After the chatter and criticism hit an all-time high in the media, Irving did an Instagram Live session. Irving attempted to clarify his position, but with no clear message, the video did not explicitly explain why getting the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t his best choice.

Anti-Vax Activist?

While citing his discomfort over the narrative surrounding his name and society’s knee-jerk acceptance of the vaccine, Irving might have dug a giant contemptuous hole for himself.

“People say he’s like (Muhammad) Ali. First of all, don’t ever compare anybody to Ali; Ali went three years without boxing, and he was the highest-paid athlete in the world. This guy’s going to make $17 million for sitting at home. But to every person out there, you don’t get vaccinated just for yourself. Let’s get that out the way.”

Recently, Donald Trump Jr. attempted to co-opt Irving’s stance and compare him to Colin Kaepernick.

“Kyrie just sacrificed more than Kaepernick ever did!” he tweeted.

Trump Jr. has urged Republicans to vehemently oppose vaccine passports. He called the measure potentially the “greatest affront” on American freedoms in recent history.

Like many, Trump Jr. has taken Irving’s COVID-19 vaccine position ambiguity as an opportunity. Barkley’s animosity stems from social media, the far-right, and the anti-vax movement making Irving their poster boy.

A Stern Admonishment

However, others not traditionally in the basketball space have polarizing opinions against Irving. Radio icon Howard Stern laid into Irving in an epic rant on his SiriusXM show.

Stern cannot wrap his head around Irving’s refusal to get and promote vaccinations.

“In terms of idiots, he’s got to be the top idiot in the country right now,” Stern said of Irving. “Guy’s got a chance as a young man to make millions of dollars, all he’s got to do is get vaccinated but he doesn’t want to get vaccinated.”

When Stern’s co-host Robin Quivers asked if he knew Irving’s reason for refusing the shot, her partner was indignant.

“He doesn’t need a reason, just that he’s stupid. Because this guy’s got a history of being stupid,” Stern said. “He’s one of these guys, he’s a flat-earther, too.”

“I don’t know who runs the Brooklyn Nets, but I wish they were running the country,” Stern said. “I love this. Basically saying, ‘Listen, douchebag, you’ve got to do what is right, that’s it.'”

“Stay home. Die there with your COVID,” Stern said. “Don’t take the cure, but don’t clog up our hospitals with your COVID when you finally get it. Don’t bother with science, it’s too late. Go f-ck yourself ― we just don’t have time for you.”

The Veteran’s Challenge

Barkley’s stance echoes that of veteran NBA players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a staunch vaccine advocate.

“I think speaking up for vaccination is an extension of speaking up for Black Lives Matter because – who’s suffering the most in the bad economy that is caused by COVID-19?” said Abdul-Jabbar during an October NPR interview.

“Who suffers the most deaths in the pandemic? Black people. You can see the direct correlation between saving lives through vaccination, and we can’t slack at any point and take another path; there’s none that works.”

Irving’s take continues to be a polarizing hot topic within the NBA, with everyone taking a side except for Irving.

 

 

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.