Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams got into a heated exchange on First Take Wednesday that invloved conversation around Kyrie Irving and him not being able to play at all this season until he gets vaccinated.
Smith wasted no time in ripping Irving over the report that he’s planning to sit out this season because he wants to be a “voice for the voiceless.”
“I’ve been covering the NBA now for almost 25 years,” Smith says. “This is some of the stupidest nonsense I’ve ever seen. Just flat-out stupid.”
Williams responded by saying he agrees that everyone should be vaccinated, but when you “call people stupid,” you run the risk of ostracizing people.
“I’m just telling you how it feels from people, Stephen A. When you start calling people ‘stupid,’ or you start saying that they’re selfish, these things start going all over the internet, that creates a different narrative and people start fighting back against that narrative,” Williams said. “I’m just telling you how it is on the other side, Stephen A. I know you have your thoughts and how you see things…”
“That’s his own personal decision,” Willaims added. “He’s choosing to do that, for him. And when you go through an unprecedented time in the history of this country, you have your own individual right to make your own decision about what you want to do for you and your family. I just respect that right, I’m not saying I agree with that right. I respect it.”
The heated exchange between them can be seen below:
During his rant on Instagram Live Wednesday night, Irving mentioned that no one should be “forced” to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you have exemptions or that you didn’t have to be forced to get the vaccine? This wasn’t an issue before the season started,” Irving said. “This wasn’t something that I foresaw coming where I prepared for it and had a chance to strategize on what was going to be best for me and my family.”
He also addressed the rumors about him potentially retiring because of New York City’s vaccinate mandate, saying “Don’t believe that I’m going to give up this game for a vaccine mandate or staying unvaccinated.”