Freedom Rally and BLM Protestors Gather Together for Kyrie Irving: “Let Kyrie Play!”

kyrie irving protest
Freedom Rally and BLM protestors gather at Barclays Center in support of Kyrie Irving. (Video by Yaakov Straberg/American Pigeon)

October 27, 2021

Ahead of the Brooklyn Nets’ opening night, a few hundred protestors gathered at Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, New York.

They were protesting the Nets’ decision to keep Kyrie from playing after he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Kyrie has been critical of the mandate saying that he believed he was promised an exemption.

“Pay attention to what’s going on out in the real world,” Kyrie said. “People are losing their jobs to these mandates. People (are) having to make choices with their own lives which I respect. And I don’t want to sit here and play on people’s emotions either, just use logic. What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you would have exemptions, or that you didn’t have to be forced to get the vaccine? This wasn’t an issue before the season started. This wasn’t something that I foresaw coming or I prepared for it, you know, I (didn’t have) a chance to strategize for what was going to be best for me and my family. I came into the season thinking that I was just going to be able to play ball, you know, be able to use my talent to continue to inspire, influence people in right way.”

The demonstration in support of Irving drew a number of supporters from NY Freedom Rally and BLM. John Matland, New York Freedom Rally event organizer spoke to Fox about the event saying, “This is all about unifying on one common goal.” He said that BLM has also been upset by the vaccine mandates which have affected the black community in New York.

Recent data shows that while vaccination disparities have narrowed, blacks in the U.S. are still behind other racial groups. In New York, blacks and whites have the lowest vaccination rates and lag behind other racial groups, at 49% and 55% respectively.


Leader for the BLM Chapter for Greater NY, Hawk Newsome, said “Our message is that we will not put anything into our bodies that we do not want.”

Many have doubted the unity shown in the videos, suggesting that BLM supporters and advocates were not present. Another independent journalist, Leeroy Johnson, confirms the contrary.

Leeroy Johnson, who spoke to American Pigeon, dispelled the notion that BLM supporters were not present at the protest. He confirmed that a press release was issued ahead of the event from notable organizers such as Civil Rights Leader, Rev. Kevin McCall; Hawk Newsome, Black Lives Matter Greater NY; New Yorkers Against the Mandate; and New York Freedom Rally.

The press release, signed by Rev. Kevin McCall, states:

When: Sunday October 24, 2021 

Time: 2pm Rally Starts 

Where:Barclays Arena (Atlantic & Flatbush Ave) 

REVEREND KEVIN MCCALL STATES: We be out by  the thousands  to support Kyrie Irving decision not to be force in to making a choice.We will shut every game ,every bridge ,every tunnel, every Broadway Show down in this city until this mandate is cancelled .This is a new level of divide and control.We must resist at all course.

Hawk Newsome states: We are not anti-vaxxers. Some of us are vaccinated,It’s an individual’s choice. No one should be forced to put something in their body.I think, in a perfect world, [vaccine requirements] should be business by business. But it could be a slippery slope, so the mandate should be removed completely.” 


Curtis Orwell, another protestor there against the mandates said of the event, “We’re fighting for bodily autonomy, body sovereignty. We’re protected by the Nuremberg code. The number rule is that the subject must consent to what goes into their body; and people have opted to say no to this experimental vaccine and people are losing their jobs. This is diabolical.”

Curtis marched with the NY Freedom Rally alongside BLM. “Black lives do matter,” he said. ” While I don’t support the BLM campaign, per se, our black brothers and sisters matter. The black community is affected by the mandates, is hesitant to take vaccine, and rightfully so. The Tuskegee experiment injected black men with Syphilis.”


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