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Navy football assistant coach cut loose after refusing COVID-19 vaccination

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Billy Ray Stutzmann has been cut loose from his position as an offensive assistant coach with the Navy football team after declining to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The Naval Academy Athletic Association policy regarding COVID-19 requires all coaches and staff to be vaccinated against this virus. Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy’s COVID-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months,” Stutzmann explained in a statement.

“After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy. I continue to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues,” he said.

Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo said that Stutzmann has a “bright future” in his career field.

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“He’s added a lot to our program,” Niumatalolo said, according to the Associated Press. “Wish him the best of luck, he and his wife Shanelle. Wonderful young man. Got a bright, bright future in this profession.”

Over in the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets have replaced an assistant coach who declined to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The team had just announced in June that Sylvain Lefebvre signed a contract to work as an assistant coach on Head Coach Brad Larsen’s staff.

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“Per NHL protocol, he is unable to do the job we hired him for,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told ESPN.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63.1% of the U.S. population ages 12 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while 73.9% of that demographic has received at least one dose.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been springing up in both the public and private sectors amid the coronavirus pandemic, forcing some people to choose between getting vaccinated and keeping their jobs.

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Blaze Media CEO Tyler Cardon tweeted last week that he will never require employees to get vaccinated as a condition of employment.

“I will never require employees of Blaze Media to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment. Not even a tough call,” Cardon said in a tweet.

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