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13 Oct, 2021 10:56

‘Kyrie just sacrificed more than Kaepernick ever did’: Donald Trump Jr wades into vaccination row over NBA star Irving

‘Kyrie just sacrificed more than Kaepernick ever did’: Donald Trump Jr wades into vaccination row over NBA star Irving

Donald Trump Jr has thrown his support behind Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving after his team announced they have "no choice" but to not select him due to his vaccine hesitancy.

Nets general manager Sean Marks announced on Tuesday that seven-time NBA All-Star Irving would be absent from all team games and practices due to his reluctance to receive a vaccine, suggesting that their hand has been forced due to strict Covid-19 guidelines in place in New York, where unvaccinated people are restricted from participating in indoor events.

Marks stated that the team haven't haven't been presented with a viable alternative to guarantee Irving's involvement in the season, leaving them with no option but to plan for the young season without arguably their finest player.

"Again, my job here is to make what we deem as the best decision and best choices for the organization moving ahead as a whole," he added.

"They’re not always ones who are going to be met with open arms and a thumbs-up. These are hard decisions. Just like I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Kyrie either to have to make that [decision] to not be around his teammates."

Irving appears to have drawn a line in the sand – but his stance looks set to him in the pocket, with him being ineligible for gameday payouts for fixtures that he misses.

As such, Trump Jr says that Irving has "sacrificed" more than former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a player who was unceremoniously booted from the league due to his high-profile sidelines protests against police brutality as a key sporting figure in the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Kyrie just sacrificed more than Kaepernick ever did!" wrote Trump Jr on Twitter. 

That is a questionable claim, at least financially. The Nets are unable to withdraw payments to Irving for away games, as he would technically be able to play in the vast majority of markets regardless of his vaccine stance. 

For that reason, Irving can still expect to collection a sum of around $19 million this season.

Kaepernick, by contrast, has been estimated to have missed out on checks of around $10 million per season, meaning that he is likely to have lost out on around $50 million during his five-year exile from the NFL.

The NFL itself has noted a very high take-up of vaccines among its players, with just a few notable high-profile holdouts remaining in the headlines. 

Trump's shot at Kaepernick wasn't entirely endorsed by respondents on Twitter.

"How so?" asked one. "Kaepernick was trying to bring attention to inequality. Irving is trying to bring attention to…himself?"

"Kyrie made a decision based solely on self," added another. "Kaepernick made a decision based solely on others. The chasm couldn’t be more clear."

"Comparing two black men from different sports who stood for far different things, trying to divide the black community from the outside? Yeah that’s about par for the course for you," wrote a third.

Also on rt.com ‘No-one should be forced’: Row over freedoms erupts again as NBA superstar Irving is ruled out by his own team over vaccine choice