A veteran ESPN sideline reporter has announced her departure from the network in reaction to the company’s vaccine mandate.
Allison Williams, a veteran college basketball and college football sideline reporter for ESPN, took a leave of absence from the network earlier this fall. Williams, who is attempting to get pregnant, does not want to take the vaccine. However, Disney is requiring all employees to be vaccinated.
It’s no longer just a leave of absence, though.
Williams announced on Friday that she’s leaving the company for good.
“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. And I’ve had to really dig deep and analyze my values and my morals, and ultimately I need to put them first,” Williams said in her announcement.
She added: “Ultimately, I cannot put a paycheck over principle. And I will not sacrifice something that I believe and hold so strongly to maintain a career.”
“A lot of people have brought up the moral obligation receiving the vaccine is to being a good citizen. And I weighed that, and I thought about the implications. We all want to be good neighbors. We all want to end this pandemic. But ultimately, an injection that does not stop transmission and spread² for me, does not weigh in morally.”
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 17, 2021
Naturally, fans are split on the decision.
“Those gigs are not easy to get. They don’t grow on trees. It’s a dream job that pays very, very well. Looked like she had a nice long run ahead of her at the WWL. She must have really strong beliefs to walk away. Hope she knows what she’s doing. Hope it works out for her,” one fan tweeted.
“Freedom at its finest. ESPN free to enforce public health and safety protocols. Williams free to not get vaccinated and leave the network. This is how it works. A two way street,” another fan added.
“I have seen her on many sporting events on ESPN… mostly college sports. She made her choice and now ESPN gets to make theirs. Employers get to make conditions on employment. If you don’t want to comply, you have to leave. All of the above is called being an adult,” one fan added.
That about sums it up. ESPN has the right to have requirements for its employees, while the employees have the right to leave if they want.
It will be interesting to see where Williams ends up.