A small group of anti-vaccine protesters unfurled a large banner in support of Kyrie Irving outside of the Brooklyn Nets game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.
The California-based nonprofit Parent Revolution reportedly organized the protest, with protest organizer Kelly Schaefer adding the sign has nothing to do with the Virginia sex abuse scandal involving former Virginia coach Tony Bennett.
“We don’t think any reason for that. This is a Patriots banner,” Schaefer said. “Just to get people to like the Patriots. And to not defend sexual violence.”
The banner referred to Irving as “This one’s for him.” The message reportedly contains the same mark the anti-vaccine movement often uses.
Fox News reports Irving, 23, left the Cavaliers on a one-year contract, and is now a free agent.
The Knicks, Cavaliers and Celtics are reportedly interested in signing Irving. He has already spoken to the Celtics and Cavaliers this summer, but could decide to sign with the Knicks once LeBron James opts out of his contract with the Heat.
The Richardson, Texas, native chose not to attend Cleveland’s game Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder because he did not want to face the Cavaliers organization and owner Dan Gilbert, who helped run anti-vaccine efforts against him in the past.
Gilbert has already tweeted to Cavaliers fans to boycott Monday night’s game.
It’s not the first time Irving has faced the anti-vaccine movement. Irving spoke up to them when he chose to remain on the Cavaliers despite their organization’s anti-vaccine campaigns. Gilbert, however, claimed Irving had opted to stay with the team after he informed them.
According to a 2014 Associated Press report, during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Irving said of all the things he had to deal with playing in Cleveland, this wasn’t one of them.
“I was like the last thing, to be honest, on his mind. He was taking care of the NBA Finals last year. I think this whole thing with the anti-vaxxers, which he (Gilbert) brought up, it’s not something I’m concerned about.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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