Jay Williams has come to the defense of Kyrie Irving and his vaccination stance. Unfortunately for Williams, Steph A. Smith wasn’t having it.


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During Wednesday’s edition of ESPN’s First Take, Smith was critical of Irving for leaving the Brooklyn Nets hanging by choosing not to get vaccinated. Williams, who said he is pro-vaccine, defended Irving’s right to make a personal decision and do what he feels is right for him and his family. This lead to Smith and Williams going at each other on air.

Williams posted an emotional video on Instagram this week in which he revealed that people have told him he doesn’t deserve to live because of his take on Irving.

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“You know the crazy s— people say to me on the internet when they disagree with my opinion? … ‘Go hit a pole. Go die again. Duke’s education…’ All this stuff,” Williams said. “Thank god I went through that experience, because I don’t need other people to justify how I think about myself.”

Williams, of course, was a phenom at Duke and taken with the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2002 NBA Draft. He suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle crash in 2003 that ultimately cost him his playing career. Williams also doubled down on his defense of Irving.

“Kyrie Irving doesn’t owe you anything. He doesn’t owe you a response on your timeline. He doesn’t owe you answers that you feel like you need,” Williams said. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, the NBA season starts in five days.’ Who gives a damn.”

Everyone clearly has an opinion on the Irving situation. However, death threats are never cool and aren’t an answer to any solutions.