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.
“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.
“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.
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.