WATCH: Charles Barkley Sounds Off on Kyrie Irving Vax Refusal: ‘You Don’t Get the Vaccine for Yourself’

Charles Barkley commentates from the booth during The Match: Champions For Charity at Medalist Golf Club on May 24, 2020 in Hobe Sound, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match)
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match

The usually nuanced Charles Barkley joined in the pile-on against Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving over his refusal to get the coronavirus vaccine.

On Tuesday night, after the Brooklyn Nets suffered a 127-104 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the former Phoenix Suns star blamed the loss on Irving’s absence, whose unvaccinated status bars him from entering a “covered premises” in New York City, per Mayor Bill De Blasio’s vaccine mandate.

“First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people,” Barkley said on Tuesday night. “I got vaccinated, and I can’t wait to get the booster. You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself … You get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second.

“That’s what bothers me about this whole thing. I think everybody should get vaccinated,” Barkley continued. “I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down and saying we’re not going to deal with this half-on, half-off. The only thing that bugs me is he’s still going to make $17 million sitting at home.”

Due to Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated, having already recovered from the coronavirus (natural immunity), the New York Nets announced earlier this month that the star player would no longer play or practice with his team until he gets vaccinated.

“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement.

“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” Marks continued. “Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”

Charles Barkley is not alone in his condemnation of Irving. On Tuesday, radio shock jock Howard Stern – the man who always complained ad nauseam about censorship – called Irving “the biggest idiot in the country right now.”

“In terms of idiots, he’s got to be the top idiot in the country right now,” Stern said. “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.”

The NBA has also shown no signs of budging on Kyrie Irving, with Commissioner Adam Silver repeating his order for Irving to get vaccinated.


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