Cruz says he 'stands' with Kyrie Irving over vaccine hesitancy

Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE (R) said that he “stands” with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and other NBA players who have shared their hesitancy about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I stand with Kyrie Irving. I stand with Andrew Wiggins. I stand with Bradley Beal. I stand with Jonathan Isaac,” Cruz wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, along with the hashtag #YourBodyYourChoice.

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Cruz also applauded Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James for his comments Tuesday, when the superstar shared that he decided to get vaccinated after researching it, but didn't intend to try to influence others to follow his lead. 

"I’ve never said this before: I agree with @KingJames,” Cruz said in the Twitter thread. With his box-office power, he could be even more courageous—he could SOLVE the problem—by saying: “I stand w/ my fellow players. And I won’t play in any arena that bans another NBA player because they make a personal healthcare choice.”

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Cruz has been an outspoken critic of athletes using their platform to promote other social causes. In 2016, he suggested that fans boycott merchandise of players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. 

Irving and other NBA stars have faced a backlash for spreading misinformation about the vaccine in explaining their own hesitancy or refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The NBA announced on Wednesday that it will withhold pay for unvaccinated players who miss games this season, along with imposing burdensome protocols on players who refuse to get the shot. 

About 90 percent of the league’s players are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.