ESPN says unvaxxed reporter trying for a baby did not technically get fired

Editor’s Note: We adjusted a previous headline that stated that Ms. Williams was “fired” after ESPN disputed the term as a technical definition of what happened. 

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate at ESPN is forcing sideline reporter Allison Williams out of her job after about 10 years with the Disney-owned network.

“Ultimately, I cannot put a paycheck over principle,” the broadcaster insists, even though she admitted that it is a career that she loves.

Williams, 37, disclosed in early September, in what she described as a difficult decision, that she would not take the jab because she is trying to conceive a second child.

“After a lot of prayer and deliberation, I have decided I must put my family and personal health first,” she explained, in part, on Twitter at the time.

“This will be the first fall in the last 15 years I won’t be on the sidelines for College Football,” Williams added.

Unfortunately for the sports reporter, ESPN has denied her request for an accommodation. Disney is requiring the COVID jab for virtually all of its employees.

ESPN, for its, part denied firing her. A company representative provided the following statement:

“We aren’t going to comment on an individual.  We are going through a thorough review of accommodation requests on a case by case basis, and are granting accommodations consistent with our legal obligations.  Our focus is on a safe work environment for everyone.” 

Williams was apparently presented with a new contract that included a vaccine requirement and she was unable to sign it.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men.”

In a heartfelt update embedded below which you can watch and draw your own conclusions, Williams took to Instagram on Friday evening to thank America for its outpouring of support and to reveal that she is separating from the company.

She also acknowledged hearing from COVID-vaccinated women who have had both positive and negative experiences in terms of their fertility.

“Belief is a word I’ve been thinking about a lot lately because, in addition to the medical apprehensions regarding my desire to have another child in regards to receiving this injection, I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this,” Williams, who previously worked the sidelines for college football and basketball telecasts, continued.

“And I’ve had to really dig deep and analyze my values and my morals, and ultimately I need to put them first. And the irony in all this is that a lot of those same values and principles I hold so dear are what made me a really good employee and probably helped with the success that I’ve been able to have in my career.”

 

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A post shared by Allison Williams (@allisonw_espn)

Williams claimed that Disney issued a memo in April stating that the COVID-19 vaccine was a personal choice even though it considered the shot the best way forward.

“I respect that their values have changed. I had hoped they would respect that mine did not. Ultimately, I cannot put a paycheck over principle,” she tearfully said.

Williams also said she carefully thought about what might be described as a collective responsibility.

“We all want to be good neighbors. We all want to end this pandemic, but ultimately, an injection that does not stop transmission and spread for me did not weigh in morally,” she continued.

She also acknowledged that first responders, nurses,  pilots, and others in critical professions for society who are facing termination for the same reason have far more important jobs than hers. “I just want you all to know that I stand with you.”

In a shoutout to mandate supporters, Williams added that “If this is the direction we take our country, there will come a time when the government or corporations mandate you to get something that does not align with your valuesand when that day comes, I want you to at least know that at we fought and we tried.”

A tearful Williams concluded as follows:

I don’t know what the future holds, obviously, for any of us. I’m trying to wrap my mind around the thought that the largest game I’ve worked in my career, the national championship game, might be the last college football game I work. But I’m gonna focus on what I have to be thankful for. I’m gonna hold on to my faith. I’m gonna pray that things get better, and that I can see you on the television set in some capacity, in some stadium, covering some game soon. Until then, God bless, and I’m going to go hug my baby.”

 

In a podcast last month, “SportsCenter” anchor Sage Steele, who reluctantly got vaccinated on the eve of the company’s September 30 deadline, described the ESPN policy as “sick” and “scary.”

Steele — who might be the only non-liberal among ESPN’s many virtue-signaling, on-air personalities — subsequently apologized for her remarks.

The Biden administration intends to issue a rule mandating the COVID vaccine for all businesses with 100 or more employees. Various companies such as Disney have already promulgated their own work rules to this effect.

Robert Jonathan

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