After blasting Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-10 in the past, Stephen A. Smith ​​​​​​ is now advocating for the Brooklyn Nets ​​​​​​ point guard to be allowed to play home games.

During Monday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, Smith made it clear that while he stands by his past criticism of Irving, he still thinks he should be permitted to play at home this season. Smith had previously called Irving’s decision to remain unvaccinated despite health concerns and mandates “just flat-out stupid.” 

“I’ve been critical of Kyrie Irving,” he said. “I didn’t stutter, I’m not backing up. I meant every single damn word I said. But that does not mean what New York has done to him is right. It is not. Kyrie Irving should have never been prevented or prohibited from playing a game at the Barclays Center this season. This city of New York’s rule is bogus, it is ridiculous.” He called on NYC mayor Eric Adams, whom he stressed he “likes,”  to “step up and handle his business in this regard.”

Smith reiterated that his issue is that visiting players can be unvaccinated and still play at the Barclays Center, but Irving can’t. “Even the commissioner, Adam Silver, said he was a bit flummoxed—that wasn’t the word he used, I’m using that—at the fact that rule was in place,” he continued. “Either you have to be vaccinated in order to play in an indoor facility in New York, or not.” 

He concluded that Irving has been “thoroughly screwed over in that regard,” and that he “should be allowed to play, effective immediately!”

Jay Williams, who agrees that people should get vaccinated, got into a heated debate with Smith last year over this same issue. Upon hearing that Smith is now advocating for Irving to be permitted in the Barclays Center, Williams expressed his shock on Twitter. “What is this????,” he tweeted alongside a reaction gif.

As it stands in New York City, individuals must have a vaccine passport for indoor spaces such as sports arenas. NYC mayor Adams has since announced its Key 2 NYC vaccine mandate will end on March 7, but it’s still up in the air whether Irving will be permitted in the Barclays Center.

A memo sent to the Nets this past week said that “if a player is on an impacted team, unvaccinated, and does not have an approved bona fide medical or religious exemption (the determination of which will be made by the league office), he will not be allowed to enter their home arenas or practice facilities in these jurisdictions or participate in any games, practices, or other team activities conducted there.” The private sector mandate is still in effect, so Irving will miss any home games until that’s also lifted.

As Smith mentioned, Silver said the mandate requiring home players in New York to get vaccinated but not away players doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. “This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players,” the commissioner said earlier this month. “I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays but the home player can’t. To me, that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.”

People on social media were quick to roast Smith for seemingly changing course when it comes to Irving. Check some reactions below.