Though her job is to cover sports as a newscaster, Allison Williams has recently made news herself for other reasons. Mainly, it’s because of her decision to leave ESPN over its COVID-19 vaccination mandate. ESPN’s parent company Disney has mandated that employees who cover live sports events must get vaccinated. Williams, like many workers around the country, are leaving their jobs rather than submit to these mandates.
If you’re not familiar with Williams, we’ll explore her background, contributions to sports reporting, and where she’s going from here.
Who Is Allison Williams?
A Michigan native, Allison Williams graduated from the University of Miami in 2006 with a degree in broadcast journalism. The daughter of an Ann Arbor policeman, Williams was drawn to the world of sports from an early age. Having earned her degree, she got her first job in sports journalism just a few months after her college graduation. It was a job for a sideline reporter for CSS, covering college football and basketball games.
CSS was so impressed with her performance, they hired her to host the show “The Ultimate Fan Experience.” She continued to host and work for CSS but also began sideline reporting for Fox Sports Florida.
At this point, in 2008, her career really began to pick up speed. She hosted Fox Sports Florida pregame shows for the Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers. Subsequently, the Miami Dolphins hired her to work as a sportscaster. She hosted Dolphins Game Day Live, while also hosting a radio show on Sports Radio 560 WQAM.
Working at ESPN
Williams got her biggest break in her career in 2011 when ESPN hired her to work as a sideline reporter. She started off covering ‘Big Monday’ college basketball games and college football games. This role brought her to national attention in the sports broadcasting world. ESPN eventually moved her to Friday and Saturday nights, where she worked with commentator Bob Wischusen and analyst Dan Orlovsky.
More to Know About Allison Williams
Williams keeps much of her personal life private, but she claims her favorite sports are baseball, hockey, and basketball. She enjoys hobbies like running, kickboxing, and doing crossword puzzles. Williams is married and currently has one child. She is active on social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram.
ESPN, Disney, and the Vaccination Mandate
Disney, ESPN’s parent company, set a mandate this past summer that its salaried employees must get vaccinated by August 1st of 2021 to retain their employment with the company. Vaccine mandates, now popular all across the country, have also come under fire from employees who do not wish to be vaccinated. Williams falls into the camp of individuals who do not wish to be vaccinated. As a result, the Allison Williams-ESPN partnership was in jeopardy.
The 37-year-old sportscaster explained that she made the decision not to get vaccinated at this time because she and her husband are trying to conceive a second child. She reported that she is concerned about the vaccines’ potential side effects. Having consulted with her doctor and fertility specialist, she does not feel comfortable getting the vaccine at this point and chose to prioritize her personal plans over her “paycheck.”
Williams has also stated, “I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this.” She decided that she will not sacrifice her beliefs and principles for the sake of her career.
Before Allison Williams left ESPN, she did file an appeal with Disney. However, the company denied her appeal, forcing Williams to either comply with the vaccination mandate or leave her position. Williams left her job at ESPN in mid-October before the full company-wide vaccination mandate took effect. ESPN and Disney has refused to comment on individual employees at this time.
Doctors around the country have reported that COVID-19 vaccinations have been deemed safe for women who would like to conceive, are pregnant, and are breastfeeding. According to the CDC, pregnant women are actually at increased risk of COVID and have been urged to get vaccinated. Severe illness from the virus can necessitate hospitalization, intensive care, and the need for a ventilator to support respiratory function. The CDC also maintains that adverse pregnancy outcomes are more likely for women with COVID-19.
What’s Next for Allison Williams?
On October 22nd, Williams announced that she accepted a new position with media company The Daily Wire. The company is known for its Conservative stance. They hired Williams to host a show that promises “sports without the woke.” Williams stated that she’s now “proud to be part of a company that fights for our rights.”
Allison Williams has achieved acclaim among antivaxxers for her unwillingness to comply with vaccine mandates. She has come out publicly against the mandates in the belief that this public health mandate violates individual rights. She is not alone. So far, according to NBC, about 5% of employees have now chosen to leave their jobs rather than get vaccinated to comply with company vaccine mandates.
The Daily Wire is not without its own share of controversy. Some supporters of Williams fear she has landed with a company that may not have her best interests at heart. The news organization also features host Matt Walsh, who has publicly criticized female sports reporters who cover men’s sports.
He stated the following:
“Yes, I said that I don’t like female analysts and reporters in football…No I don’t care if that upsets you. No, I don’t apologize. Yes, I think women are feminizing traditionally male spaces. Yes, I think that’s bad, and yes, I’m right. No, your whining doesn’t change any of this.”
Allison Williams may differ in opinion from some of her new colleagues. However, she’s stated that she’s excited to work for The Daily Wire, and company management is pleased to have her. The sports journalist’s fans continue to support her with positive tweets and messages. Look for her coverage to begin soon.