Pac-12 football coach Nick Rolovich seeking religious exemption from vaccine mandate, according to mentor

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Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich has applied for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate after refusing to vaccinate despite his mentor’s pleas to change his mind for himself and others, according to that mentor, June Jones. .

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Jones told Granthshala Sports on Thursday night because of the mandate for Washington state employees, Rolovic is facing an October 18 deadline to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or approved for exemption. have to face. If he doesn’t meet those requirements, Rolovich could lose his job, risking his once promising career.

“He and I have had six or seven conversations in the last 60 days, and my advice is to take that shot,” said Jones, a former NFL head coach who coached quarterback Rolovic at the University of Hawaii in 2000 and 2001. “Too much is at stake to risk losing their job, and it is an unfortunate situation. This may obviously be against their faith, but more people are at stake – the credibility of the university, that of the assistant coaches and their families.” Life. There is much more at stake than that, and that’s exactly what I told her.”


Jones said Rollovich, who also served as a student assistant under Jones in Hawaii in 2003 and 2004, did not elaborate on the reasoning behind his refusal to vaccinate.

“I don’t know exactly, but I do know he filed a religious exemption, and they haven’t decided on that yet,” Jones said. “He believes the way he does, and doesn’t think he needs to. It’s like I told him: It’s not about him anymore. It’s about the people around you and the university.” It’s about credibility, and he has to take one for the team.”

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The WSU athletics department declined to comment Friday when asked if Rolovich wanted to address the matter.

Despite receiving frequent questions about it from the news media, Rolovich has refused to explain the status of his vaccine After announcing in July that he had decided not to get vaccinated for personal reasons.

WSU spokesman Phil Weiler also declined to comment.

“Legally, we cannot comment on the medical condition of an individual employee,” he said.

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At WSU, applications for religious exemptions are reviewed by a committee and are “blind” so that reviewers do not know who the applicant is, according to Weiler, who generally explained the process.

“Religious exemption questions ask requesters to specifically explain what principles of their religious practice prevent them from receiving vaccinations or other forms of medical care,” Weiler said. In addition, they are asked to explain why they believe it to be a “sincerely held belief”.

In some cases, Weiler said the exemption decision can be overridden if the person’s job puts them in close contact with the public.

If employees are not vaccinated and cleared, they lose their jobs. Rolovich is in his second season at WSU with a record this season of 2-3.

A religious exemption application questions his religious beliefs, which he has not shared publicly, although his background and relationships may provide clues. He comes from a Catholic family and went to a Catholic high school in Northern California.

Last month, a friend of his and his former player, Billy Ray Stutzman, announced on Twitter that he had lost his job as a football assistant in the Navy because of his request for a religious There Was Denial of Exemption from a Vaccine Mandate.

Stutzman’s brother, Craig, is Rolovich’s quarterback coach and co-offensive coordinator at WSU. Both the Stutzman brothers attended a Catholic high school in Hawaii. Earlier this week, Billy Ray Stutzman retweeted comments from conservatives who linked vaccines to abortion.

Even though Pope Francis and other Catholic organizations Has endorsed COVID-19 vaccines, many Orthodox are Catholic opposed them on religious grounds, believing it to be tied to abortion, which they oppose.

There are no aborted embryonic cells in those vaccines, and the cell lines used to develop or test them were derived from elective abortions decades ago. In the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, an embryonic cell line was used to make it. Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines used embryonic cell lines in initial testing but not in production.

This is not new or unusual in medicine or in the development of other vaccines. A wide range of common household drugs also used embryonic cell lines in their development process, but generally do not carry the same resistance, including Tylenol, Tums, Maalox, and Pepto Bismol.

That’s why an Arkansas hospital asked those requesting religious exemptions To prove that they also do not use those generic products for the same reason.

“Concerns about the potential use of embryonic cells to develop vaccines are not sufficient grounds to discount,” Weiler said.

Rollovich has indicated that he is not an anti-vaxxer in general, but there is a problem with these vaccines in particular. “I’m not against vaccination,” Rolovic said in July.

He is the only head coach in major college football to publicly say he will not be vaccinated, even as the vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective against a disease that has killed more than 700,000 people in America. has claimed.

“It’s a personal decision for him, but it doesn’t reflect the person he is as a coach, the passion he has for the game, the passion he has for his players, and the ability to stand up for his players.” He has potential,” he said. George Rush, Rolovich’s former coach at the City College of San Francisco. “While it’s not a decision I would make personally, when everyone is putting you to death (with criticism about his decision), I think knowing that his job is on the line is there. It takes a lot of courage to stand up.”

Rush said he himself has been vaccinated. So is Jones, who said he didn’t initially want to take the shot unless it was too problematic for him to travel without it.

“Rolo is Rollo, and he is who he is because of the person he was,” Jones said. “He was a quarterback, like his own man, a leader. He’s been like that as a coach. He believes he doesn’t need to take it and doesn’t want to take it, and he doesn’t Wants someone to tell her what to do. But like I said, for me, there’s a lot at stake right now.”

Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @schrotenboer. Email: [email protected]

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