In the clip from Kyrie's silence-breaking IG Live from last night, Irving states that he did not have time to strategize his recent string of actions. Almost to say that he was blindsided by the NBA's vaccine mandate. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering he got his Standing Rock tribal ID card as a measure of securing religious exemption from getting the vaccine prior to reporting to Brooklyn.
(Rolling Stone) - Before he returned to his day job for the 2021-2022 season, Irving made a trip last month to South Dakota. His mother was born in Standing Rock, and he’d just finished enrolling for his tribal ID when he pulled up to a schoolyard at another Sioux reservation, unannounced, for signatures and selfies — the kind that force a fan to lean in tight and pull down her mandated facemask.
Inside the school, Irving met with two high-schoolers in a conference room for close talk about Covid and kicks, while twisting a cloth mask in his hands. He took photos in a basketball gym, where all student-athletes over 12 had been required to get vaccinated for the coronavirus to play sports, and where, on this Wednesday afternoon in late August, Irving was playing by his own rules.
“Pretty much everyone had a mask on,” says the mother of one student in attendance. “Everyone but Kyrie, everywhere he went.”
The superintendent insists that Irving and students had remained as socially-distanced as possible during his visit, but on the school’s Facebook page, only fake news remained: An administrator had Photoshopped crude painstrokes over his nose and mouth, along with doctored masks on several bare-chinned students, because Irving had broken public-health protocol on government grounds.
“People seeing Kyrie on the rez,” the mother recalls, “even though we’re in a pandemic, I don’t think they stopped to be like, ‘Are you vaccinated?’ No, they’re like, ‘Damn, this is Kyrie!’ He’s one of our heroes.”
He says other contradictory things amidst his ramblings. Things like "people are losing their jobs over mandates" before saying something like "I thought I could just come into the season and play ball." He sits in front of a book case to let you know that he has books. He tells you he's finally being allowed to use his own voice from his own personal Instagram account as if there was anything stopping him from speaking directly in this manner prior to last night. There wasn't. And you'd think someone who held out as long as he did would have come better prepared. This was just a dude talking to talk, nothing of substance was added to the never-ending deluge of dogshit coming from him and his camp.
It's disingenuous at best, selfish at worst. Kyrie wants to be a martyr, a "voice for the voiceless" but isn't adding anything to his side of the conversation. Kyrie, for all of his headaches, is at his best when he is acting and not regurgitating things he read on an anarchist farming Instagram account. He has donated his money, he has fed the hungry, he has paid the underpaid, all things that require a decent moral compass and nothing more. This isn't "shut up and dribble" this is "you had all this time to prepare a speech to present your side and this is the best you've got?" He gets credit his past actions. Those actions do not absolve him from the unrelated criticisms around what he's doing right now. Pretending he was muzzled and not allowed to speak freely. Pretending that he didn't go to Standing Rock, skirting all local mask mandates in defiance because of his celebrity, in an attempt to get around the NBA's vaccine mandates that he was well aware of. Pretending as if he's doing this for the greater good without citing a single objective fact, statistic, or train of logic which led to his arrival at his stance. This isn't someone fighting for a legitimate cause. Walking onto a reservation, unvaccinated and maskless in the middle of a pandemic, makes you an asshole.
As I've said in the past, I'm done guessing or assuming I know what to expect next from Kyrie Irving. Hearing him say, "Don't believe that I'm retiring," sent me back to a different time and place, where the stakes weren't nearly as high, and he still couldn't be a man of his word. I can't exactly say he's doing the same here, because I still don't know what his word is. I only know what's going on with this dude by his actions. And, to this point, he's acted like a petulant asshole who believes he resides in a world where society's rules do not apply to him.