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The real reason why Allison Williams is leaving ESPN over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Allison Williams said she is leaving ESPN because of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Here’s why

ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams at the football game between Florida and Arkansas.
ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams watches from the field during a college football game between Florida and Arkansas on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. Williams said she is leaving ESPN because her COVID-19 vaccine exemption was denied.
Pehlan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

ESPN reporter Allison Williams said she is leaving ESPN because of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate — but it’s not because she doesn’t support the vaccine.

Williams, who has been a longtime college football and basketball reporter, said in an Instagram post over the weekend in an Instagram post that she is leaving the company because her request for an exemption was denied.

ESPN made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for staffers at live events in August, according to USA Today. The policy extended to all employees in September.

Williams said she had “decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time while my husband and I try for a second child.”

  • “I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this and I’ve had to really dig deep and analyze my values and my morals, and ultimately I have to put them first,” Williams said in her Instagram video.
  • She added: “I cannot put a paycheck over principle. I will not sacrifice something that I believe and hold so strongly to maintain a career.”

Some people criticized Williams, saying she has a moral obligation to get the vaccine. But she said that is not the case.

  • “I weighed that and I thought about implications,” Williams said. “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.”

Williams said there have been reports of women suffering health issues because of the vaccine.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the COVID-19 vaccine is perfectly safe for pregnant women, people trying to get pregnant and women who might get pregnant down the road.

  • “These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy,” the CDC said.
  • “There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men,” according to the CDC.

In fact, the CDC has issued an urgent warning for pregnant women to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time — and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families,” said Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the CDC. “I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their health care provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe.”