a few words about kylie irving and his stance on the vaccine and his rights as a human being. given that he is sometimes prone to crazy stances — his flat earth theory, for one, i expected his response to skipping the season for refusing to take the vaccine to be equally nutty. but as i listened to him, he didn’t sound crazy to me. he sounded rational and logical and passionate.

now do i think he should get the vaccine, of course. do i think it’s ridiculous that he’s giving away all that money. absolutely. and when he says it’s not about the money — it’s very easy to say it’s not about the money when you sitting on $100 million. do i think he’s letting down his teammates when they have a legitimate chance to make the championship? no doubt.

the point i want to make is not about his stance on the vaccine — it’s about his willingness to defend his right to have a differing opinion. we have this groupthink mentality where there is only ONE opinion to have — and if you don’t have it, you’re evil and must be destroyed. we also ask of our athletes and entertainers to be more — to use their power and influence to make a stand and a difference in the world; to be a change agent. but i don’t want to live in a world where we cannot agree to disagree, to act as if, despite the evidence that suggests some reason to be concerned. is his stance on this at it’s basic construct any different than when Muhammad Ali objected against the war (putting his politics over his profession)? not to me. courage is courage — and i admire kylie’s willingness to stand against the world for something he believes in.

also, i wish all anti-vaxxers were sounding as rational and calm as kyrie was in his interview — cuz real talk, many of y’all look and sound nuts. we have the right to defend our opinion, not the right to stop others from defending theirs.

if we were talking about abortion and not the vaccine, we would be applauding his right to choose for himself and his body. to demonize someone for having a differing opinion — especially when they are willing to lose their livelihood over it, while i disagree with their decision, i will support and defend their right to take their stance. (not just kyrie, but the tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, and civil servants who are being fired all across the country for not taking the shot).

i have friends who have confided in me that they didn’t take the vaccine, or have serious concerns about it. i am honored that they would share those concerns with me, because in doing so we can have rational dialogue. and we all know that the world needs more rational dialogue. a couple of those folks eventually got. vaccinated — not because i yelled and screamed at them, but because they followed the logic and science for themselves and/or didn’t want their pockets to be lightened because of it.

kyrie is saying “lighten my pockets for my beliefs” — and i will defend his right to do so, even if i don’t agree.


RALPH BRYANT is writer and content creator living in Canada. He is the author of Shackles Lost and the host of the podcast Black Fathers Matter.

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Ralph Bryant Writer

RALPH BRYANT is writer and content creator living in Canada. He is the author of Shackles Lost and the host of the podcast Black Fathers Matter.