‘Stand With Kyrie’ Protest At Nets Home Opener Sends Barclays Center Into Lockdown (Video)

Black Lives Matter And MAGA Supporters Come Together In Defense of Nets Star

Photo: Screenshot/News

A disparate group of a few hundred protesters rallied in front of the Barclays Center on Sunday afternoon, in support of Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving. A few of the protesters pushed their way through barricades, and for a momentary period Barclays Center was on lockdown.

Chants of “No vaccine mandate, stand with Kyrie” and “let Kyrie play” were heard.

Independent journalist Oliya Scootercaster and Newyorkcitypeople captured video.

The demonstration was sparked by Irving’s refusal to comply with a New York city mandate that requires players to have at least one vaccination shot in order to play home games.

Since Irving took to Instagram Live to deliver his message during the late evening hours on Wednesday, Oct. 13, he’s become a hero of bad faith actors that have politicized the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as well as for the anti-vax community.

Note: when people like Ted Cruz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Donald Trump Jr. support you, it might be time to rethink your position. Just maybe.

During his 28-minute message, Irving said he wanted to be a “voice for the voiceless,” and that his refusal to be vaccinated was about the “hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs to vaccine mandates.” But he also said it was a “personal choice” and what he wants to do with “his body.”

As is often the case with Irving, contradictions abound. The vaccine is not a personal or political decision. It is a matter of public health. If one cares about their community, as Irving professes and often shows that he does, one would do what is necessary during a public health crisis.

Never mind the secondary concern, or primary, depending on your point of view, that he is letting down the Brooklyn Nets organization and his teammates. A group he is contractually obligated to play with full-time unless he’s injured.

Irving also said he is for both those that choose to be vaccinated and those that choose not to. That’s a particularly fraught all lives matter position to take.

Some of the protesters outside the Barclays Center on Sunday were seen wearing Black Lives Matter shirts; others identify as part of the MAGA movement. The fact that Kyrie Irving is the figure to bring people from these two groups together is a sad commentary on where we are as a nation.

In a statement released by the Barclays Center, a spokesperson said, “Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to clear protestors from the main doors on the plaza and ensure guests could safely enter the arena. Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule.”

The game did in fact proceed, and the Nets lost their home opener against the Charlotte Hornets.

We are only three games into an 82-game season. Irving has been absent for all three, and until he decides to comply or the vaccine mandate is lifted, he will not be a part of the Brooklyn Nets this season.

For hoops fans, that’s unfortunate. But there is something more serious at play here.

Kyrie Irving is an immensely popular figure, that right or not has gravitas. His stance, albeit unfounded and not grounded in anything factual, will give voice to certain people.

We live in a society where people do feel as though they are not heard and are constantly on the short end of the proverbial stick. For those people, a popular and whether you believe it or not charismatic person like Irving is perhaps just the kind of courage they “need.”

“I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice, Irving said during his Instagram Live session. “I am going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing. This is not a political thing; this is not about the NBA, not about any organization. This is about my life and what I am choosing to do.”

No, it’s not Kyrie. When you’re a public figure with a platform to influence the masses, you have to be better. When decisions you make spark the events that took place on Sunday afternoon outside of the Barclays Center, it ceases to be about you.