ESPN college football sideline reporter Allison Williams said Friday she is departing the network because of its COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
“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 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 a video posted to her Instagram account.
She added that “the irony in all this” is that her values and moral convictions were what made her “a really good employee” in the first place, but she has ultimately decided not to “put a paycheck over principle.” Representatives for ESPN did not immediately return a request for comment.
In the caption of the post, which has been viewed over 44,000 times, she wrote, “Whether you agree or disagree with me, thanks for listening. I will not echo or harbor the hostility that some may feel toward my decision. Doing everything I can to move forward and stay positive.”
Williams said last month that her doctor advised her not to be vaccinated while she is trying to get pregnant, which she said sidelined her and prevented her from working college games. Her Instagram post Friday noted that her “request for accommodation” at the Disney-owned network was denied.
Vaccination is recommended for anyone 12 and older, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant or could become pregnant in the future. The CDC encouraged vaccination among pregnant people and those trying to become pregnant last month, releasing a statement that said, “The CDC health advisory strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks. Additionally, the advisory calls on health departments and clinicians to educate pregnant people on the benefits of vaccination and the safety of recommended vaccines.”