After 10 years with ESPN, sideline reporter Allison Williams said she will be leaving her job after the company tried to medically coerce her into getting the COVID-19 jab while she and her husband are trying to get pregnant with their second child.
Williams said she applied for accommodation after her doctor advised her against getting the shot, but ESPN denied her request.
“Effective next week I will be separated from the company,” she said in an Instagram video.
Williams initially thought she would be free to choose whether to get the shot after ESPN, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, said it would be a personal decision for their employees. After the company mandated the vaccine for most employees in July, Williams said she was left without the choice to move forward in 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 explained.
“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 others who have found themselves facing 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 said. “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 implored anyone else facing medical coercion from their employers and the government to stand up for what they believe 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 does not know what is next for her or her career, but she said she is clinging to her faith and praying for things to get better.
“Until then, I’m going to go hug my baby,” she said through tears.
Williams announced last month that ESPN would not allow her to continue her travel sideline work while she remained 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.”
This will be the first fall in the last 15 years I won’t be on the sidelines for College Football.
My heart hurts posting this but I’m at peace with my decision. pic.twitter.com/np5V3gdrfW
— Allison Williams (@AllisonW_Sports) September 9, 2021