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Fox News reports that those who participated in the demonstration are the same people who rallied against New York City’s vaccine mandate at Times Square last weekend. Attendees could be heard chanting, “Let Kyrie Play” in video of the incident.
A protester told the outlet that the demonstration began at Commodore Battery Park with participants marching to Barclays before the Brooklyn Nets’ home game began. John Matland, one of the protest’s organizers, told Fox that he expected several thousand people at the rally. Matland characterized this group as “widely diverse” and committed to protecting their personal liberties.
At last weekend’s protest, called Broadway Rally for Freedom, almost 1,000 people gathered to hear speakers like Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—John F. Kennedy’s nephew—share his distrust of the vaccine, while attendees brandished signs promoting their stance against the vaccine.
In August, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio began enforcing the vaccine mandate, which requires proof of immunization for indoor dining, gyms, and shows. While Irving can now practice at the Nets’ training facility since it no longer falls under the purview of an indoor gym—it was recently deemed a “private office building”—he still can’t play at Barclays.
Irving has yet to indicate whether he will get the vaccine, and hasn’t spoken publicly about the issue since his Instagram Live video, where he explained his stance on the issue. “It’s not being anti-vax. It’s about what feels good to me,” he said. “I’m feeling uncertain … and that’s OK. I know the consequences of the decision I make with my life. … It’s crazy times that we’re in. I haven’t hurt anybody. I haven’t committed a crime.”