John Stockton, a Utah native and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, says he is not happy with Kyrie Irving for drawing fire for his anti-vaccination stance.
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“I don’t agree with his point of view,” Stockton said on ESPN’s The Jump on Friday night. “I was a huge believer in vaccinations. I’m more so for vaccinations as I’ve gotten older, but people are having these sayings and thoughts that are just not shared with me. You’re going to get the opinion of people you don’t talk to.”
On Friday, Irving told the CBS television show in his hometown of Boston that he does not think children should be forced to get vaccinations, despite his strong Mormon beliefs.
Stockton said: “He has choices. I believe he can make his own decisions. He should, if he chooses to. I just don’t think it’s smart. Not to play to win … that’s how I think it all comes back.”
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Last month, it was revealed that the Cavaliers guard would be asked to repay $25,000 the Cleveland Clinic Center paid to his foundation to purchase five shots that Irving said he forgot to buy.
Cleveland Clinic spokesperson Michele Whitehead said on Friday the company was “heartened” that Irving now appeared to understand the importance of immunizations.
“We appreciate Kyrie’s decision to do the right thing and help educate others about the importance of immunizations,” Whitehead said. “This is a huge step forward. We’re thankful to Kyrie, his foundation and Dr. O’Brien for continuing the dialogue.”
Irving met with one of Cleveland Clinic’s most active and well-known pediatricians, Dr. Samuel S O’Brien, on Wednesday to discuss his concerns about the direction his family’s health care is headed. O’Brien encouraged Irving to continue meeting with experts to educate himself.
“I am mindful that there is a shared responsibility to educate our children and families about the value of vaccines,” O’Brien said on Thursday. “The use of misinformation can have serious consequences for all of us, not just the individual with a religious or philosophical objection.”