Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is clarifying a controversial comment he made earlier this week.
The Brooklyn Nets point guard, 29, sparked backlash Wednesday with a tweet that read, "My mask is off. Now take yours off. No fear."
Later that day, Irving claimed the tweet was taken out of context. " 'Mask off' means You stop being something you're not and stop lying to yourself," the NBA star wrote in another tweet.
He continued, "It's the moment you discover the real you and can walk around with NO FEAR in a society that shows a lot of the masks people wear to hide who they truly are. *nothing COVID rule related!! Relax 🤞🏾."
“Mask off” means
You stop being something you’re not and stop lying to yourself. It’s the moment you discover the real you and can walk around with NO FEAR in a society that shows a lot of the masks people wear to hide who they truly are.
*nothing COVID rule related!! Relax 🤞🏾
— A11Even (@KyrieIrving) September 15, 2021
Irving posted the tweet one day after ESPN reported that the NBA Players' Association had refused to change its stance against mandating vaccines for athletes amid negotiations with the NBA. The NBA has already put strict COVID-19 restrictions in place for the upcoming 2021-22 season, which begins Oct. 19.
The Nets star is no stranger to controversy, either. He has suggested the Earth is flat on multiple occasions, including during a January 2017 appearance on The J.J. Redick Podcast.
Irving spoke to those specific comments ahead of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. "Who's to say that picture is telling the truth?" he asked when told of photo evidence of the Earth indeed being round. "I'm not saying I think it's flat. I don't know. But it could be."
LeBron James, who played alongside Irving on the Cleveland Cavaliers at the time, poked fun at his friend while conducting an interview nearby. "Kyrie, the earth is flat, right?" the now 36-year-old athlete said.
"Yeah," Irving said, to which James replied, "That's news. So there we go."
Irving also raised eyebrows in December 2020 with his response to the NBA's decision to fine him $25,000 for violating the league's media access rules.
"I've had enough of someone else's propaganda. I am for the truth, no matter who tells it," he wrote at the time on his Instagram Story, via theScore, later adding he is also for "Peace, Love and Greatness."
"I do not talk to Pawns," he concluded. "My Attention is worth more."