News & Politics

Washington State Football Coach's Firing Just Gave Away Governor's 'Illegal' Mandate Trick Play

AP Photo/Young Kwak

This week’s firing of Washington State University’s head football coach and four assistants gave away the state’s game plan for how it routinely deals with people seeking exemptions from the governor’s COVID vaccine mandate. At the center of the plan is a reprise of the old Statue of Liberty Play.

You remember that one. According to the history books, the Statue of Liberty Play is when the “quarterback drops back for a pass gripping the ball with both hands, fakes a throw with one hand to one side of the field, and as his hands come back down, secretly hands the ball off to a running back crossing behind him, who then runs to the opposite side of the field.” It’s an effective play that looks like Lady Liberty herself in form but is really sleight of hand — a feint — to keep the opposition off balance.

And that’s what happened to state and other government employees in Washington, including people less famous but much more important — cops, paramedics, firefighters — than now-former Washington State University head football coach, Nick Rolovich.

By Monday, all state and other government employees had to get a shot or an exemption or they’d be constructively fired. Rolovich asked for a religious exemption. He was denied.

To gain some insight into part of this strategy we go to California where UCLA Medical Center anesthesiologist Dr. Christopher B. Rake told PJ Media he refused to ask for any kind of exemption from the state’s COVID vaccine mandate because those who grant exemptions can also take them away. He believed the mandate was unethical, illegal, and wrong regardless of exemption. The hospital escorted him from the building where he saved lives and helped people on a daily basis. When I talked with him last he was riding in the car with his precocious toddler and taking a hot lunch to his child at school — not scrubbing in on surgeries.

Rake got it. He saw the play being run against him. He refused to play.

But Rolovich didn’t see the opposition’s playbook, so he failed to see that what looked like Lady Liberty — freedom from mandates — was a feint.

Rolovich’s lawyer, Brian Fahling — yes, he’s suing — wrote in a statement to the Spokesman-Review that WSU “indicated that even if the exemption had been granted, no accommodation would have been made. As a result, Coach Rolovich will be taking legal action against Washington State University, and all parties responsible for his illegal termination.”

Related: And Just Like That, Washington State’s Fire Marshal Will Lose Job Over Forced Covid Shot

Fahling is right. Coach Rolovich probably would never have received any accommodation. Boy, oh, boy, they must be full-up on head football coaches in the Palouse or something.

More than 100 Seattle police officers who asked for exemptions are off the job right now while the city hems and haws over whether to consider accommodating any exemptions.

So much to do…like sorting socks, getting needles to homeless crack heads, and doing their nails, we guess.

Who needs cops in, anyway? Cop-hating Leftists who run the city sure don’t. They just saved a ton of money on salaries and pensions and took out that freedom-loving garbage so they can now say, with their fingers crossed behind their backs, that they have near-compliance on the freedom-sucking mandate.

Seattle paramedic Shellie Nicklos had an exemption from the vaccine mandate. But, oops, sorry, Shellie. The 20-year veteran was told an autoimmune disease and a note from her doctor advising her not to take the shot wasn’t good enough. She was denied an accommodation for her granted exemption.

The state fire marshal was given a medical exemption, but gee whiz, the state just didn’t have room for him anymore and so couldn’t accommodate his request.

This disingenuous distinction between “exemption” and “accommodation” is obviously an attempt to be able to tell a judge, “your honor, we gave her an exemption; we just didn’t have room for her on staff anymore.”

Civil rights and tax attorney Robert Barnes, who has brought several lawsuits against the mandates, said at his On Locals program that the state is asking to be sued.

They can all sue, and I’m sure they will sue, a fair portion will sue, there’s no doubt about that.

And I think they have a very good suit, the Washington state coach and all of them.

Anybody who filed a request for a medical or religious accommodation and was just fired is just nonsense.  Legally, there’s no foundation for it.

And the question is will the courts step in, step up, or do they run and hide?

Will they cower like cowards or will they do their job?

What’s happening in Washington, from paramedics to police to the state fire marshal, is that some lawyer somewhere decided that the state can give an exemption but doesn’t have to grant an accommodation to work the job you had five minutes ago.

Lady Liberty’s exemptions looked pretty good to government employees — until the autocrats faked out these good people with a trick play.