Allison Williams, an ESPN sideline reporter for ten years, announced her departure after the company tried to medically coerce her into getting the COVID-19 vaccine while she and her husband are trying to conceive their second child.
Williams stated that she requested accommodation after her doctor advised her not to get the shot, but ESPN denied her request.
This will be the first fall in the last 15 years I won’t be on the sidelines for College Football.— Allison Williams (@AllisonW_Sports) September 9, 2021
My heart hurts posting this but I’m at peace with my decision. pic.twitter.com/np5V3gdrfW
“Effective next week I will be separated from the company,” she said in an Instagram video.
After ESPN, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, stated that it would be a personal decision for their employees, Williams assumed she would be free to choose whether or not to take the shot. Williams stated that after the company mandated the vaccine for most employees in July, she was left with no choice but to continue her career without the jab.
“Their values have clearly changed. I understand that. I don’t know what it’s like to run a multibillion-dollar company and to have shareholders and board members and financial quotas to answer to and not to mention societal and political pressure, so I respect that their values have changed. I had hoped that they would respect that mine did not,” Williams said.
“Ultimately, I cannot get a paycheck over principle,” she added. “I will not sacrifice something that I believe and hold so strongly to maintain a career.”
Williams also expressed sympathy for those who have been in similar situations.
“I know I’m not the only one walking away from a career they love, a profession that is passion. And so many of the people who are in the same situation as me are serving society and benefiting this country in ways I could never do,” she explained. “They are nurses, they are teachers, they are doctors, they are police officers and first responders, they are most importantly our military, and they too are pilots. They too are choosing to put their beliefs first, and I just want you all to know I stand with you.”
Williams urged anyone else who is subjected to medical coercion by their employers or the government to stand up for what they believe in and fight back against tyranny.
“There will come a time when the government or corporations mandate you to get something that does not align with your values,” she said. “Power given is seldom returned. When that day comes, I want you to know that we fought. And we tried.”
Williams said she doesn't know what's next for her or her career, but she's holding on to her faith and hoping for the best.
Through tears, she stated: “Until then, I’m going to go hug my baby,”
Last month, Williams announced that ESPN would not allow her to continue her travel sideline work while she was still unvaccinated.
“While my work is incredibly important to me, the most important role I have is as a mother. Throughout our family planning with our doctor, as well as a fertility specialist, I have decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time while my husband and I try for a second child,” she said in a statement. “This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly. … I will miss being on the sidelines and am thankful for the support of my ESPN family. I look forward to when I can return to the games and job that I love.”