Erin Molan has taken a swipe at the wife of Gold Coast Titans star Bryce Cartwright, slamming her ‘dangerous’ comments seemingly linking vaccinations to the Holocaust.
The NRL's restart on May 28 has hit a hiccup with around 20 players refusing to be vaccinated for various reasons, including past adverse reactions to the flu shot and religious reasons.
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On Friday, the Gold Coast Titans confirmed Cartwright and Brian Kelly were both stood down for refusing the vaccination after an intervention by the Queensland government.
That angered Cartwright’s wife Shanelle, who took to social media to lash out.
Among a number of posts about vaccinations and coronavirus, Shanelle Cartwright shared a photo of famous Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank.
“The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law, the people who killed her were following it,” the caption reads.
Before you defend these anti vax players, just remember this is the stuff their wives and girlfriends are posting on Instagram. They compare themselves to being persecuted Jews in the Holocaust.....yeh. pic.twitter.com/URcA0aPobh— The Oh Errol Girls (@oherrol) May 9, 2020
Erin Molan slams Shanelle Cartwright
On Sunday, Molan took aim at Cartwright for her ‘incredibly dangerous’ claims.
“I think freedom of choice is really important," Molan said during a discussion about vaccinations on The Sunday Footy Show.
“The issue I have, particularly with the couple of players in Queensland and their wives, is freedom of choice is one thing but to start to spout information that is incredibly dangerous, to start to liken anti-vaccination in this country to the plight of the Jews during the Holocaust.
“I just think that's one of the main issues, it's dangerous.”
Parramatta legend Peter Sterling wasn’t sure whether or not players should be forced to get the jab, but said the game of rugby league should be the priority.
“It may well be, for the overall good, the ramification is that you don't play our game,” Sterling said.
“Twenty people possibly out of 500 ... there's more at stake.”
While NSW coach Brad Fittler said the players refusing to be vaccinated might change their minds when they take a financial hit.
“I appreciate Bryce Cartwright and a few of the lads having their beliefs on this,” Fittler said.
“I think what will happen is their beliefs might get tested to the nth degree, where they might say, 'Well you know what, you're not going to get paid if you're not going to get a flu shot'. That's what seems to be the situation in Queensland.
“But I also do like the fact the NRL do seem to be supporting the player at the moment still ... they're not going in really heavy at the moment, saying, 'If you don't have the flu shot [you're out]. They're going the other way and saying to the government, 'Do you mind if these boys get exempted'.
"If the government say no, then I'd be saying to Bryce Cartwright and a few of the lads ... 'This is going to be your ultimate test of your beliefs, boys.
“I respect you if you don't want to take it but you know what, I'd be taking it'.”
Confusion around players who won’t vaccinate
Fellow Titan Nathan Peats and Manly's Marty Taupau both hesitated to get the shot due to past adverse reactions, but eventually had the injection.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Titans were still awaiting confirmation from Cartwright and Kelly over whether they would agree to be immunised and resume training.
It’s understood Dylan Walker, Addin Fonua-Blake, Josh Papalii, Joseph Tapine, Iosia Soliola and Canterbury's Sione Katoa all signed a waiver to remain compliant under the NRL’s guidelines and continue training.
It has sparked confusion over how different states and territories will enforce the NRL's return to training protocols, and casts doubt over whether unimmunised players will be allowed to play in Queensland.
“I guess where this has gone off the rails a little bit is everyone is looking at at one or two per cent of players and 98 per cent of the players went and got vaccinated conscientiously,” ARL chairman Peter V'landys said on Sunday.
“If you look at the general community there's probably one or two per cent of people who wouldn't be vaccinated.
“Rugby league is part of the community and it's no different, there's always going to be some people that are going to have a different ideology.”
V'landys said players who refused the vaccination only pose a health risk to themselves and not to the community given contracting the flu and coronavirus at the same time is potentially deadly.