UPDATED ON : OCTOBER 18, 2021 / 08:14 AM
ESPN analyst Jay Williams is facing heavy backlash after defending NBA superstar Kyrie Irving’s decision to not get the COVID-19 vaccine.
In footage posted by TMZ, Williams says he’s been receiving death wishes from people following his take on Kyrie’s decision not to get the vaccine. New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are affected by the mandate, meaning that the Nets, Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, and Golden State Warriors are impacted.
In response to opting not to receive the vaccine, Irving has been marked ineligible to practice or play with the Brooklyn Nets until he receives it.
Williams, 40, got into a heated debate on ESPN’s First Take show with Stephen A. Smith about Irving’s decision. Williams argued that he doesn’t personally agree with Irving’s decision, but he says Kyrie should have the right to do whatever he pleases with his body.
“Thank God I almost passed away when I was 21 years old,” Williams said, referring to his horrible 2003 motorcycle incident. “You know some the crazy s**t that people say to me on the internet when they disagree with my opinion? Go hit a pole, go die again, aww Duke education. Thank God I went through that experience, ‘cause I don’t need other people to justify how I think about myself.”
Williams went on to discuss how Irving’s stance is real and he “doesn’t owe you anything. He doesn’t owe you answers that you feel like you need.”
According to The Athletic, Irving is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates.