Last week, Kyrie Irving, a professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets, demanded to be traded. Under duress, the Nets sent him to the Dallas Mavericks for players who reportedly aren’t nearly as good as he is.
I’ve seen one live pro basketball game in thirty years and watch one game/year on TV. But thirteen years ago, I stood next to Irving as his team waited to play in a New Jersey high school game, as a prior game wound down. We were the same height, though as I would soon witness, he was much craftier: an artist as a young man.
Neither Kyrie nor I could have foreseen that, over a decade later, he would take an off-court stance that would place him at the center of a major legal/bioethical controversy and make him a folk hero to some and a villain to others. But the truth of the past three years has consistently been stranger than fiction. That’s because none of the government Covid reaction ever made any sense, except as political theater.
Per the chronology, summarized below, that Alex Berenson set forth a year ago on his excellent Substack, Irving was barred from playing in the first four months of the 2021-2022 basketball season because he had refused the mRNA injections.
In September, 2021, even though reports of “vaxx” failure in Israel and other nations had already surfaced, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio foolishly required Covid shots for adults entering indoor venues like gyms, restaurants, theaters or arenas. In December, 2021, de Blasio extended the mandate to all private sector employees’ workplaces; this despite pledges earlier that year there would be no vaxx mandates of any kind.
While the workplace mandates barred Irving from playing in Brooklyn, he was allowed to play in cities other than New York. However, Nets management said that if Irving wouldn’t play at home, they wouldn’t let him play in road games, either. The Nets pretended that this decision was based on team chemistry. But it seemed like they were just trying to break Kyrie.
Lord have mercy.
Irving is paid $35 million/year. Thus, he lost $400,000 for each game he didn’t play. One could say that his willingness to forfeit so much salary by skipping games showed his conviction, and it did. But Kyrie didn’t miss any meals; especially because, as it was the team management’s decision not to let him play in road games, they still had to pay him for not playing in those games. Just for sitting out road games, he made far more money than most Americans will ever see. Serious passive income.
Soon thereafter, the Nets changed their mind and invited Kyrie to play in non-NYC arenas. They had to, because multiple vaxxed teammates were Covid-infected and thus, disqualified from playing. Management’s road-game concession showed what I, and others, had predicted: the shots wouldn’t work, and the unvaxxed would end up healthier than the vaxxed.
In March, 2022, Eric Adams, New York’s then-new mayor, made a partial concession to reality and lifted the vaxx mandates for entering indoor spaces, including Brooklyn’s arena. Clearly, these mandates hadn’t worked; New York City had far more infections than ever. Thereafter, both the vaxxed and unvaxxed could attend games in NYC.
But the city’s workplace mandate remained in place, so Irving still couldn’t play in Brooklyn. Fun fact: the NYC workplace mandate never applied to players employed by non-New York teams; thus, unvaxxed visiting players could play in Brooklyn. Unvaxxed 20-35 year-old athletes breathing in close proximity to other, mostly vaxxed, people: how unsanitary and dangerous!
At one point, when asked to explain why he still enforced vaxx mandates despite their ludicrous double standards and ineffectiveness, Adams replied, “Because I say so.”
This is government by the People, for the People? This is The Science? Sorry, Eric, but I respect knowledge and logic, not authoritarianism and demagoguery.
Aside from being scientifically groundless, the vaxx mandates were invalid. They weren’t duly enacted laws. Instead, like the panoply of Covid “mitigation” measures, nationwide, NYC’s vaxx mandates were unconstitutional edicts. They should have been challenged, and invalidated, for that reason.
During that time, Irving demonstrated the silliness of the city’s mandates by buying a ticket for a Nets game. His seat conspicuously adjoined his teammates’ bench. It was, as they say, a very bad look.
The Nets were losing games that they likely would have won if Irving had played. At a press conference after one game, Kevin Durant, Kyrie’s teammate, called the city’s workplace vaxx rule “stupid” and told Mayor Adams, “Dude, you gotta figure this out.”
A few days later, likely under team and/or league pressure, Durant walked back his truthful criticism. If athletes and other celebrity influencers had used their platforms to criticize the lockdowns, the school closures, the masks and the tests—and had not backed down—these measures would have ended as quickly as they started, and the government would never have initiated Vaxxathon.
Celebrities like Durant and Irving have “FU money” and rare skill sets and body types. Irving effectively said “FU” but Durant, and many others who could have, didn’t. I don‘t have FU money or one-in-a-million skills. But I said “FU”—more politely, but firmly—to my employer re: its vaxx mandate. I’m good at my job, live within my means, and know that employers need reliable employees to work more than employers need their employees to take a worthless shot. Hence, my employer made an exception. If just 10% of solid workers had refused to inject, employers would have demanded that mandating governments drop the jab mandates that were decimating their workforces. Too bad that more workers didn’t understand their worth, bargaining power and ability to refuse the shots.
Put on the spot by Irving and losing face by the day, on March 24, 2022, Adams relented and arbitrarily exempted “performers,” like Irving, from the workplace mandate. Kyrie resumed playing, both at home and away.
Fast forward to February 10, 2023. By coincidence—during the same week that Irving got traded—NYC finally rescinded its oppressive, worthless vaxx mandate for municipal workers. Aside from having lifted the restaurant/venue mandate almost a year earlier, the City had already lifted its private employer mandate on November 7, 2022. There were so many mandates that it was hard to keep track.
During VaxxFest, the city had coerced 96% of city workers to take the ineffective, hazardous jabs. The City enforced the municipal employee mandate for a year and a half after it was clear that the shots didn’t work. All of the vaxx mandates were always inappropriate, and simply coercive; people of working age were at near-zero risk of death from Covid.
By forcing the team to trade him, Irving, who had caused the City to change its mandate to accommodate him for the sake of a hosting a winning sports team, stuck it to The Man/The City again. The effects of the trade will rankle. Because the Nets didn’t receive a fair return for Kyrie, he set the Brooklyn team up to fail for at least the next few years and will, therefore, deter fans from attending games. Irving’s delivery of some curbside/courtside justice is very modest payback for how contemptibly New York City and State governments have behaved for three years. But it’s a start.
Kyrie Irving stated that, by declining to inject, he sought only to defend his sovereignty over his own body. But via his civil disobedience, he incidentally proved a broader point: as NYC’s municipal government changed its “public health” rules to allow an unvaxxed basketball player to play, while it required all other private employees to inject, these officials effectively admitted that they had no scientific basis to mandate shots for anyone.
By caving to celebrity and sports fan pressure, vaxx-pushing City officials revealed what anyone paying attention already knew: these officials had no integrity.
The jabs were an aggressively-hyped, core element of the City’s and nation’s purported “Covid-crushing” strategy. Given their willingness to continually lie about both the efficacy of, and the need to mandate, the shots—even for healthy, not-at-risk, people—even after the shots had clearly failed to stop infection or spread, a reasonable person should conclude that the City and New York State governments lied about all Covid-related matters: the case counts, death tolls, the need for lockdowns, school closures, masks and asymptomatic testing.
And as the NYC government lied about all that, so did most American governments cite fake stats and push “public health” measures that they knew were bogus; as did many governments in Europe, Oceania and Asia. They operated in profoundly bad faith throughout.
Some of us saw, from the beginning, that the government Covid reaction and media coverage were detached from reality, deeply dishonest and extremely destructive. But most people are naive. They don’t know that their preferred political officials and media sources are fundamentally dishonest and effected a massive, permanently-damaging three-year scam. Remember how many self-righteous, ignorant individuals shrieked at, and wanted to prosecute, those who refused to inject and wanted to live normally? Neither government official connected with any Covid edicts nor any private citizen who supported these edicts deserves any future trust or deference.
Though Kyrie Irving schooled him, Eric Adams still hasn’t learned his jab lesson. Three days ago, during a radio interview, he asserted, without basis, that the shots had saved many lives and that he might reinstate mandates. He criticized those who refused the shots, stating it was wrong for them to say, “I want to do whatever I want.”
It’s wrong for those who know far more than the mayor to do what they want with their own bodies?
Smart people know how to care for themselves far better than do scientifically illiterate, poorly spoken, unsmart individuals like Adams or Biden or elliptical liars like Fauci and Walensky. Such misinformed, dishonest politicians have no business controlling anyone else’s lives. The mandaters and lockdowners, and their supporters, deserve only lasting derision, defiance and disgrace.
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I tried to explain to someone I am dating why I would never take these "vaccines." Fell on deaf ears, as he trusts the government and the media. He took the shots because his "smart" cousin, a cancer researcher and screaming, obnoxious liberal, took them. No independent research and no regrets for his decision. I respect him less now and think things will probably end. He is a smart guy in many ways but it's hard to be with someone who cannot or will not see reality. There are a lot of "smart" stupids out there. Crazy and lonely times.
As a New Yorker (Brooklyn) born to New Yorkers (Brooklyn) born to immigrants (Ireland and Hungary) who arrived early in the last century, the level of compliance on the part of those now calling themselves New Yorkers astounds me. They're not the New Yorkers I remember -- or at least not the New Yorkers my parents were and so many others. Or the New Yorkers everybody loves to hate.
96% cave vs. 96% telling degraded scum like Eric what's his name to pound sand? It's New York City, for Pete's sake! Noise, dirt, smelly crowded subways, crowded buses, people everywhere from everywhere, garbage, rats and other vermin lurking in the background -- and New Yorkers caved over the off-chance they might get a respiratory infection? And obeyed??
After all that venting, another wonderful piece, Mark.