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Hospital cuts ties with Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins over QB’s vaccine stance

Sep 13, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins has been cut — but not by the Minnesota Vikings.

The Holland Hospital, which has used Cousins to promote its sports medicine program for the past several years, cut ties with the quarterback on Friday over his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Cousins went to high school in Holland, Mich., where the hospital is located.

Cousins declined to say at a news conference Thursday whether he is vaccinated, calling it a “very private health decision.”

“While we acknowledge that each person is entitled to their own viewpoints, those who speak on our behalf must support messages that align with the hospital’s position on matters of vital importance to individual and community health. For this reason, Holland Hospital will discontinue using Kirk Cousins as our spokesperson for now,” the hospital said in a statement.

“We are proud of our association with Kirk. He embodies many values we respect and share as part of our work culture. However, we must be certain that our communications about COVID vaccination are consistent and unequivocal.”

Cousins, who turns 33 this month, was placed in the Vikings’ COVID-19 protocols when he was named a close contact of a rookie quarterback Kellen Mond, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Cousins said he was “at peace” with his choice.

Last year, Cousins said he was taking a “survival of the fittest” approach to the pandemic, and on Thursday, he said he would do “whatever it takes” to stay safe amid the resurgent virus.

“I do believe that as a leader of the team it’s very important I follow the protocols and avoid a close contact,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

The NFL has pushed to get players and staff vaccinated ahead of the 2021 season, which begins Sept. 9. The league has said that any team that vaccinates 85 percent of its players and staff can relax its safety protocols and can apply less stringent rules to vaccinated players.

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The NFL announced last month that if a regular-season game cannot be rescheduled and is canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, that team will have to forfeit and will be credited with a loss.

–Field Level Media