Ron Rivera blasts spread of vaccine misinformation

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera has been an outspoken proponent of people – especially his players – getting the COVID-19 vaccination.

Now he’s taking aim at a different subset. In an interview with Sports Illustrated published Monday, the cancer survivor sounded off on purveyors of misinformation regarding the vaccine.

“Gen Z is relying on this (holding up phone. And you got some, quite frankly, f—— a——- that are putting a bunch of misinformation out there, leading people to die. That’s frustrating to me, that these people are allowed to have a platform. And then, one specific news agency, every time they have someone on, ‘I’m not a doctor, but the vaccines don’t work.’ Or, ‘I’m not an epidemiologist, but vaccines are going to give you a third nipple and make you sterile.’ Come on. That, to me? That should not be allowed.”

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, via Sports Illustrated

Rivera said the problem crystallized for him in talking with one of his players, who got vaccinated but was unaware of the Delta variant, a more contagious strain of the virus. Rivera told SI he asked the player if he watches the news. The player responded that he gets “all my information from here” — his phone.

Ron Rivera speaks out on COVID-19, health risks

Rivera, who is immunocompromised after a battle with cancer in 2020, told SI he is a steady mask-wearer despite being fully vaccinated.

“We’ve had a couple situations with players already testing positive for COVID, and that scares the hell out of me, because I interact with these guys,” Rivera told SI. “I’m close to these guys, and sometimes I forget to put my mask on for extra insurance.”

Last month Rivera expressed his frustration with the lack of vaccinations on his team, both from competitive and general health standpoints.

“I think the big thing really is — have individual conversations,” he said. “I’m not going to tell anyone what to do. I hope we can get to these guys, to help them understand it’s not just to them, but also the folks around them.”

His push for education seems to have had an impact on his team.

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As of Aug. 2, 84 percent of team personnel had been at least partially vaccinated — still among the lowest in the the NFL, however. The team was at a 60 percent vaccination rate the previous week

–Field Level Media