Longtime ESPN reporter Allison Williams will not be on the sidelines for the network this college football season due to her vaccination status.
“The last few months have been some of the most difficult days of my life as I grappled with decisions I never thought I would have to make. But that’s the world we are now living in, unfortunately,” Williams wrote in an Instagram story post on her verified personal page thanking people for reaching out regarding her absence from the Week 1 broadcasts.
She then confirmed her sideline absence will be an extended one and explained her decision to decline the vaccine in a statement posted to Twitter and her Instagram story.
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
“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,” Williams wrote.
“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.”
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Walt Disney Co., which owns ESPN, announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all its non-union employees at the end of July.