Washington football coach Ron Rivera went off the bleeping deep end against vaccine skeptics earlier this week. In a Sports Illustrated feature story, he charged that “f------ a-------" are “leading people to die.”
In the understatement of the week, SI writer Albert Breer wrote Rivera has found his voice “in a way he hadn’t used it before,” and “he believes it’s for the better.” Rivera is speaking out about COVID-19 and vaccines because he is a cancer survivor and that’s making him a public health advocate.
Bluntly and coarsely speaking, Rivera described a conversation with one of his players that led him to react:
“Gen Z is relying on this (holding up his cell phone). And you got some, quite frankly, f------ a-------, that are putting a bunch of misinformation out there, leading people to die. That’s frustrating to me, that these people are allowed to have a platform. And then, one specific news agency, every time they have someone on, I’m not a doctor, but the vaccines don’t work. Or, I’m not an epidemiologist, but vaccines are going to give you a third nipple and make you sterile. Come on. That, to me? That should not be allowed.”
Rivera did not help his argument for vaccines when he said: “I know I’m vaccinated, and I know it’s going to keep me from getting deathly ill, but I can still get it. And who knows? So I have to be careful.”
Despite a U.S. healthcare system “that’s broken,” there’s enough “positive science” out there, Rivera rambled on in advocating for vaccines.
Neither Breer’s story or Rivera’s rant included the facts that the vaccines are not yet fully FDA approved and there are plenty of tragic reaction stories. Nor did the pro-choice argument we hear bandied about with regard to abortion come into play. Aren’t people’s health care decisions private matters between them and their doctor? Not when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine discussions.
The NFL has instituted harsh penalties (the threat of fines and forfeitures) for unvaccinated players and their teams for the 2021 season.