Public/Global Health

Sage Steele says she only took vaccine because of ESPN’s ‘sick’ and ‘scary’ mandate

ESPN anchor Sage Steele said she only got the COVID-19 vaccine because of her company’s mandate, which she described as “sick” and “scary.” 

During an appearance on “Uncut with Jay Cutler,” Steele told the former NFL quarterback that she ultimately got the vaccine so she wouldn’t be removed from programming. 

Steele noted that she had until the end of September to get vaccinated.  

“I didn’t want to do it,” Steele told Cutler. “But I work for a company that mandates it, and I had until Sept. 30 to get it done, or I’m out.” 

Steele said while she respects people’s decisions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, it was an emotional choice for her. 

“I respect everyone’s decision. I really do. But to mandate it is sick, and it’s scary to me in many ways,” Steele told Cutler. 

“I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney. I mean, a global company like that,” she added.  

Steele has previously drawn criticism for mocking mask mandates. Responding to statistics showing that more children have been shot in Chicago than died of COVID-19, she wrote, “But yes — let’s keep masking up our children!”

Amid racial justice protests last year, Steele told The Wall Street Journal that her colleagues excluded her from appearing in a special about race because they did not view her as an authentic voice for the Black community. 

Steele’s ESPN colleague Allison Williams shared earlier this month that she stepped down from covering college football this season due to declining to be vaccinated. 

Williams said she decided not to get the vaccine because she and her husband are planning to conceive a second child. 

“This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly,” Williams said. “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.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

President Biden announced earlier this month that all private employers with 100 or more employees will be required to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing, in addition to requiring vaccines for federal workers and contractors.

Tags business vaccine mandate espn Joe Biden Sage Steele vaccine mandates

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