Kyrie Irving Appears To Poke The NBA Vaccine Policy Bear | Mr. Misunderstood

. (Photo: @netszn/Instagram)

Kyrie Irving fell victim to poor timing yesterday with a vague tweet that sparked a minor COVID-19 controversy.

Irving took to Twitter with a veiled message that implied he wasn’t down with the vaccine.

“My mask is off. Now take yours off. No fear.”

Irving is known for his social media statements, both the positive ones and others that are misconstrued due to their vagueness. However, this tweet came on the heels of reports that the NBA would not mandate its players to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Although no other players made any statements, veiled or otherwise, Irving’s tweet skewed toward the anti-vax culture. The tweet also felt like a jab at New York City’s mandatory vaccine law for indoor entertainment venues.

New NYC Rules

As of Aug. 17, people aged 12 and older must show proof of receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for New York City’s indoor dining, fitness, or entertainment venues.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the executive order in August, however, enforcement of the rule didn’t take effect until Sept. 13.

“I am absolutely certain this is going to motivate a lot of people to get vaccinated,” Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference.

The NYC mandate puts athletes playing for New York City professional sports teams at a difficulty if they’re on the fence about the vaccine.

Reports are that 85 percent of NBA players are vaccinated, and the league has outlined protocols for unvaccinated players rather than mandate all be vaccinated. These protocols include distanced locker room mobility separating vaccinated from unvaccinated. Also, dining and transportation will be sectional by those vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The Real Meaning

Later, Kyrie explained his tweet to quell the dumpster fire that spread on social media surrounding his tweet.

“Mask off” means

“You stop being something you’re not and stop lying to yourself. It’s the moment you discover the real you and can walk around with NO FEAR in a society that shows a lot of the masks people wear to hide who they truly are.”

“*nothing COVID rule related!! Relax”

Many in the world took Irving’s initial tweet out of context, but is it their fault or Irving’s? As a philosophical thinker, Irving constantly provokes thought through social media and had a digital presence during the protest movement.

Irving took a strong stance regarding not resuming NBA games immediately in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. He also is a very socially conscious and spiritually aware athlete that has no issue espousing his views to his followers.

You Smell Me?

But the timing of the tweet was suspect to many. Additionally, the explanation of the tweet came after a social media uproar. It begs for asking: Does Irving enjoy stirring the pot to see if you can guess the flavor?

The smell test on his brand of social media communication is up for grabs based on your views of Irving. He has positioned himself as the NBA’s resident polarizing figure, so the tweet shouldn’t be surprising.

But the timing is curious, and Irving had to know that. Still, his position as one of the most misunderstood stars in the NBA works for his brand and the Brooklyn Nets.

His teammate Kevin Durant constantly comes for those coming for him on Twitter. Also, their teammate James Harden, who’s a lifestyle, always has people debating his motivation.

But the one thing Irving and his two teammates also have in common: they show up when the stakes are most extraordinary. That is why Irving’s words should be taken as an athlete letting off steam of personal existentialism.

Nothing more. Nothing less. Enjoy the mind of Kyrie Irving now, just as you do his time being legendary on the court. It’s all entertainment.

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.