Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is with the majority of the players union when it comes to vaccine mandates.
More specifically, Towns was asked about the situation involving Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who apparently does not intend to get vaccinated and risks missing the entire season. The Nets have said Irving can not be a part-time player.
As an aside, Towns’ mother died from complications related to COVID-19, and he himself has been vaccinated. But he still showed some support for those choosing not to be vaccinated, such as Irving.
“I’m obviously a strong believer in the vaccine,” he told Ryan Gaydos of NJ.com. “I’ve been through so much and it would be kind of contradictory to not be on the pro-vaccine side. But what I will say is that I believe in choice, and I like to give people their choice, and I have no problem with people having their choice.”
Towns, however, added: “They make their own decisions on their own bodies and their own families. I have no ill will towards that. The only thing I would say is just don’t give me a bulls**t excuse why [you don’t get the vaccine] … You don’t want to do it, that’s your choice.”
Irving has indicated he is not ant-vaccine, but rather anti-mandate. He explained his stance in an Instagram Live post earlier in the week.
“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is,” Irving said. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”
Former Cavaliers teammate J.R. Smith also tweeted out support of Irving.
“Extremely proud of you bro!” Smith wrote, tagging Irving.
Meanwhile, the Nets released a statement saying Irving cannot play until he receives the vaccine, despite the fact he would be eligible to play in the majority of road games.
“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 GM Sean Marks in the statement.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. 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.
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice.”
Irving, 29, averaged 26.9 points and 6.0 assists in 54 games last season, his second in Brooklyn.