Nick Rolovich: Football coach fired for refusing vaccine

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Nick Rolovich, a football coach from the top US college has been fired because he refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Washington State University (WSU) dismissed Nick Rolovich, its highest-paid employee, along with his four assistants for failing to meet a vaccine mandate.

The mandate was meant for all state workers in Washington who had to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or lose their jobs.

The 42-year-old football coach, who earned $3.1m (£2.25m) a year, had applied for a religious exception from the mandate.

But the university’s Director of Athletics, Pat Chun, said the exemption had been declined. He said: “This is a disheartening day for our football programme.”

“Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and wellbeing of the young men in our team.”

The firing of Mr Rolovich marks the conclusion of a three-month fight between the coach and Washington’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.

Moreover, Gov Inslee announced in August that all state employees and healthcare workers would need two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to keep their jobs.

In addition to this, he said that Monday was the deadline for them to get vaccinated, or have a medical or religious exemption.

But Mr Rolovich had said he would not get vaccinated, calling it a personal decision.

“While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual – including coaches, staff and student-athletes – can make his or her own decision regarding the Covid-19 vaccine. I will not comment further on my decision,” he said earlier this year.

About 90% of WSU staff and 97% of students have been vaccinated, according to the college.

College sports obtained nearly $19bn (£14 bn) in total revenue in 2019 – the majority came from football, which is viewed by five million people on the average per game.

Mr Rolovich’s salary at WSU was barely above the average pay grade of head coaches in college football, but it made him the highest-paid public employee in the state, according to local media.

 

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