It appears that Kyrie Irving has found a new ally in his quest to be a "voice for the voiceless" as he rejects New York's COVID-19 protocols. After learning of Irving's decision to remain unvaccinated instead of complying with New York health protocols, Chris Brown called him a "real hero."
"[Kyrie Irving is] the real hero! I stand with my brother," the best-selling artist wrote on Instagram.
"Whoever [doesn't] like it [can] go live [their] d--- [lives]. It's his choice and a d--- good one. [I'm] always in my brother's corner."
Brown is not the only public figure to offer support for the 2016 NBA Champion. Kyrie Irving's former teammate and current collegiate golfer, J.R. Smith, said that he was "extremely proud" of the NBA star. Former New Jersey Nets Point Guard Stephon Marbury also tweeted that Muhammad Ali would be "proud" of Irving's decision.
Despite Marbury's words of support, it is not certain that the former heavyweight champion would support Irving's decision to remain unvaccinated. In fact, Ali collaborated with the New York Health Department in 1978 to create a PSA that encourages children to get vaccinated against various diseases before starting school.
Adding on, many members of the medical community would encourage Irving to receive the vaccine. While there is no cure for COVID-19, medical experts report that the vaccine reduces the likelihood that someone will be hospitalized, die or spread the virus.
"Vaccinated people are not as likely to spread the coronavirus as the unvaccinated. Even in the United States, where more than half of the population is fully vaccinated, the unvaccinated are responsible for the overwhelming majority of transmission," Dr. Craig Spencer of the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center stated.
"The fact that vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing COVID-related death doesn't mean they're 0% effective at preventing COVID-related death. Some people will die of COVID who have been fully vaccinated, but the vaccine prevents death at least tenfold over being unvaccinated, according to every recent study, and probably more than tenfold," Dr. Shira Doron of Tufts Medical Center added in a separate statement.
Above all else, health officials in the city of New York do not appear to be in any rush to relax COVID-19 health protocols. Currently, players for the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before playing in any home games. As a result, Irving is ruled out of playing in any home games until further notice. While he is eligible to practice and play in away games, the Nets have made the decision to distance themselves from Irving until he can play in all games. The Nets kicked off their season on Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks and will play their first home game on Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers.