Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that NBA player Kyrie Irving’s apparent vaccine beliefs were “not factual.”
“I think you have to put it into perspective of what is going on in the country with regard to COVID-19, the now, you know, inching close to 700,000 deaths with a vaccine that unequivocally from a scientific and public health standpoint has been shown to be highly effective and safe,” the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden shared during his interview on the Hugh Hewitt podcast. (RELATED: Dr. Fauci Jokes ‘Brad Pitt, Of Course’ Should Play Him On ‘SNL’)
Irving, a star for the Brooklyn Nets, did not attend the team’s media day Monday. To participate in team activities, city law requires athletes to have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Irving has been asked several times if he has received the vaccine and he has not directly answered.
“Living in this public sphere, there’s a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie,” Irving said. “And I would love to just keep that private and handle that the right way with my team and go forward with a plan.”
Irving followed a conspiracy theorist’s Instagram account in late September, according to Rolling Stone. That account has shared completely unfounded and wild theories, like vaccines being promoted by “secret societies” to harm and control black people. Irving is reportedly promoting this account’s work by liking its posts.
The basketball star has not made any claims recently on the vaccine. Irving was fined for violating NBA’s protocol for the “bubble” season by appearing in a video maskless with a lot of family members. He also seemingly shared an anti-mask message on Twitter, although he later said that it was meant to be metaphorical, not literal.
Hewitt asked if the doctor would “speak directly to Kyrie about the damage he is doing by spreading vaccine lies?” The clip was noted by Mediaite.com.
Dr. Fauci Responds to ‘Vaccine Lies’ From Kyrie Irving and Other NBA Stars https://t.co/X6v3cQtXTt
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) September 29, 2021
“And although I do respect people’s individual rights to make their decisions, there is also a part of it, Hugh, that is what I refer to as societal responsibility,” Fauci explained. “And although there are individual choices that people can make, when you’re dealing with a deadly pandemic, you’ve got to also understand your responsibility to the society within which you live.” (RELATED: Kevin Durant Reveals He’ll Wear Number 7 For The Brooklyn Nets)
“So I wouldn’t want to be pointing a finger at this young man, but I would hope to be able to get him to understand that by allowing the virus to infect you, even though as an individual you say ‘I’ll take my own chances, I don’t care, I’m young, I’m healthy, the likelihood that I’m going to get a serious disease is low,’ which is true,” he added.
“You can’t deny that. But what happens is that when you do get infected, it’s very well likely that you might pass that infection on to someone who would suffer very terribly from that virus. So you don’t want to be a vehicle for the propagation of an outbreak that unequivocally has devastated society.” (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)
The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was pressed further by the host to address the NBA star directly about putting “stuff online that suggest that the vaccine is dangerous.”
“Well, you know, you tell them that it’s untrue,” Fauci replied. “The fact is these are people, they’re not stupid people. And yet, they are somehow or other, been convinced of things that are just not factual.”