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Ex-Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich files appeal over firing

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  • Ex-Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich files appeal over firing

    Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich was fired last month for not complying with mandate that all state employees be vaccinated.

    Ex-Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich files appeal over firing
    Dan Wolken, USA TODAY
    Thu, November 4, 2021, 3:54 PM

    Former Washington State coach Nick Rolovich, who was fired on Oct. 18 for failing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, accused athletics director Pat Chun of violating his First Amendment rights and interfering in the university’s process to consider religious exemptions in a 34-page appeal made public by Rolovich’s attorney on Thursday.

    The appeal is considered the next necessary step in a formal process before a wrongful termination lawsuit is filed. Rolovich and four assistant coaches were fired with cause for not complying with the mandate, meaning they were not paid the balance of their contracts. Rolovich was in the second year of a deal that paid him an average of $3.2 million annually.

    In the appeal, Rolovich claimed that Chun was “openly hostile” toward the coach’s beliefs in several meetings about the vaccine beginning in May, a few months before Gov. Jay Inslee issued the mandate for state employees.
    In one of those meetings, Rolovich claims Chun offered to have him meet with a mental health professional and “offered his wife as someone the Coach could talk to because she had been in a couple different religions he referred to as ‘cults.’ ” He also claims that Chun encouraged him to resign on Aug. 19 and called him a “con-man.”

    In the appeal, Rolovich paints the picture of a standoff between himself and Washington State officials who repeatedly questioned him about why he would not get vaccinated. Only toward the end of the process did Rolovich, who is Catholic, reveal the basis for his objection to the COVID-19 vaccine.

    “Coach Rolovich didn’t feel comfortable talking about his faith,” the appeal states. “His faith is a very personal matter to him and he was uncomfortable talking about his religious beliefs with his supervisor. Coach Rolovich was also uncomfortable because he did not know how Washington State University would react to him sharing his religious opposition to medical research based on aborted fetal tissue, given that WSU professors have in the past publicly defended such research.”...
    Rolovich’s attorney went on to detail how he would have been able to perform the duties of his job, including extensive travel and recruiting, with accommodations and argued that Rolovich did not pose any added health risk to others due to his unvaccinated status...