ESPN reporter steps down from role after refusing Covid-19 vaccine

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Allison Williams, pictured here during a college football game in 2017.
ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams during a college football game in 2017. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Popular ESPN reporter Allison Williams has stepped down from her role on the network's college football coverage after opting not to have the Covid-19 vaccine.

Williams has been with ESPN since March 2011 and does sideline reporting for the network's college football and college basketball coverage.

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She was absent from screens in the opening week of the college football season and revealed on Thursday that she won't be a part of any game coverage in 2021.

Williams said she hasn't received the Covid-19 vaccine, with she and her husband attempting to have a second child.

"While my work is incredibly important to me, the most important role I have is as a mother," she wrote on social media.

"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. 

"This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it's not something I take lightly. I understand vaccines have been essential in the effort to end this pandemic, however taking the vaccine at this time is not in my best interest. 

"After a lot of prayer and deliberation, I have decided I must put my family and personal health first. 

"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."

Covid-19 vaccines have been deemed safe for expecting mothers in Australia.

Second ESPN reporter to take leave of absence

While Williams wasn't on the sideline in week one, she continued to host her podcast with fellow ESPN reporters Molly McGrath and Kris Budden. 

Williams had been working games with ESPN's Bob Wischusen and Dan Orlovsky in 2020.

Disney announced in August that all employees - including those who work for ESPN - are required to get vaccinated.

Allison Williams, pictured here speaking to Jack White and Grayson Allen.
Allison Williams speaks to Jack White and Grayson Allen of the Duke Blue Devils after a game in 2018. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

“Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions,” Disney said in its statement announcing the vaccine mandate. 

“Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”

Williams is the second ESPN sideline reporter to announce an absence during the 2021 season. 

ESPN analyst Todd McShay said this week he would be taking a leave of absence after week one to focus on his family and his health.

Williams and her husband welcomed their first child, a boy, in July 2019.

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