NEW YORK (PIX11) – NBA star Kyrie Irving, an outspoken opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, had harsh words over New York City’s latest vaccine policy update on Tuesday.

Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City is lifting its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private sector employees and for public school students who want to participate in sports and other after-school activities. However, the mandate remains in place for city employees.

“If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired,” Irving said on Twitter.

The Brooklyn Nets star went on to call COVID-19 vaccine mandates one of the “biggest violations of human rights in history.” 

Irving was one of the most high-profile American athletes who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which meant he was prohibited from playing NBA games in Brooklyn because of New York City’s previous vaccine rules.

That changed in March when New York City allowed athletes and performers to be exempt from the private sector vaccine mandate, a decision that drew condemnation for being unfair.

More than 1,400 city workers have been fired for not complying with the vaccine mandate.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association, which represents New York City firefighters, ripped the Adams administration for not dropping the mandate for city workers.

“Since the very beginning we were told we were going to follow the science. There is no science that shows the difference between public and private sector employees, how it’s more dangerous for one group but not as dangerous for the other,” said Andrew Ansbro with the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

New York City parents had also criticized the policy barring unvaccinated students from sports and after-school activities, saying it lacked common sense since vaccinated and unvaccinated students already attended classes together for several hours a day.

During a press conference Tuesday, New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan responded to these criticisms.

“It’s important to not see these things in isolation and then say, ‘What’s the narrow rationale for this one decision?’ And see it as disconnected from the rest. We are in a process of transition. We are no longer in this emergency phase of the pandemic,” Vasan said.

New York City Council member Joe Borelli, another outspoken critic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, isn’t satisfied with the city’s justifications.

“We want not only a rational answer, but an answer that’s good enough to be firing people,” Borelli said.

Borelli said he and other colleagues will continue to push for an end to all COVID-19 vaccine mandates and the rehiring of workers who were fired for not complying with the requirements.