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ESPN anchor Sage Steele slams Disney’s ‘sick’ and ‘scary’ vaccine mandate for staff at the network

ESPN anchor Sage Steele has slammed network parent company Disney’s ‘sick and scary’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate and admitted she only got the shot because ‘I had to get it done, or I’m out’ of the company.

Steele, who co-hosts ESPN’s SportsCenter, told Jay Cutler on his Uncut with Jay Cutler podcast she ‘didn’t want to’ get the COVID-19 vaccine but had it earlier that day in order to keep her job. 

‘I didn’t want to do it. But I work for a company that mandates it and I had until September 30 to get it done or I’m out,’ she said. 

The 48-year-old said she believes getting the vaccine should be a personal choice. 

‘I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways.’ 

ESPN anchor Sage Steele (pictured) has slammed Disney’s ‘sick’ and ‘scary’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate and admitted she only got the shot because ‘I had to get it done, or I’m out’

Steele, 48, went on to say the introduction of vaccine mandates hadn’t come as a surprise to her, particularly naming her employer the Walt Disney Company, which owns the sports network. 

‘I just, I’m not surprised it got to this point, especially with Disney, I mean a global company like that.’ 

The Walt Disney Company announced July 30 that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the US working at any of the company’s sites must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Unvaccinated employees were told they had 60 days to get the shot. ESPN workers were also included in this mandate. 

The company’s mandate came ahead of Joe Biden’s announcement in early September that all private employers with 100 or more employees must require all staff to get the vaccine or be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing. 

The podcast episode featuring Steele, first reported by The Hill, does not appear to be on the homepage for Cutler’s series, where the former NFL quarterback speaks with friends, former teammates and athletes about a range of topics.  

Yet, it’s not the only time Steele has aired her annoyance with COVID-19 protocols.

The ESPN host this week also rallied behind comments made by Orlando Magic basketball star Jonathan Isaac about the vaccine.

Steele, who co-hosts ESPN's SportsCenter, told Jay Cutler on his Uncut with Jay Cutler podcast she 'didn't want to' get the COVID-19 vaccine

Steele, who co-hosts ESPN’s SportsCenter, told Jay Cutler on his Uncut with Jay Cutler podcast she ‘didn’t want to’ get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘Misrepresentation only allows for others to attack straw men, and not reason with the true ideas and heart of their fellow man,’ Isaac tweeted on Sunday.

‘It helps no one! True journalism is dying! I believe it is your God given right to decide if taking the vaccine is right for you! Period! More to follow.’

Steele retweeted the post Tuesday and also shared a video of a press conference where Isaac explained his decision not to get the shot and insisted he is ‘not anti-vax’.

‘And another,’ wrote Steele, with arrow emojis pointing to the video.

‘Much respect @JJudahIsaac.’

Isaac spoke out after he was among several NBA players named in a Rolling Stone article as ‘proudly unvaccinated.’ 

‘When NBA players started lining up for shots in March, Isaac started studying Black history and watching Donald Trump’s press conferences,’ the piece reads. 

It's not the only time Steele has aired her annoyance with COVID-19 protocols. The ESPN host this week also rallied behind comments made by Orlando Magic star Jonathan Isaac (above)

It’s not the only time Steele has aired her annoyance with COVID-19 protocols. The ESPN host this week also rallied behind comments made by Orlando Magic star Jonathan Isaac (above)

Steele retweeted this post from Isaac Tuesday. Isaac spoke out after he was among several NBA players named in a Rolling Stone article as 'proudly unvaccinated'

Steele retweeted this post from Isaac Tuesday. Isaac spoke out after he was among several NBA players named in a Rolling Stone article as ‘proudly unvaccinated’

Steele also shared a video of a press conference where Isaac explained his decision not to get the shot and insisted he is 'not anti-vax'

Steele also shared a video of a press conference where Isaac explained his decision not to get the shot and insisted he is ‘not anti-vax’

‘He learned about antibody resistance and came to distrust Dr. Anthony Fauci. He looked out for people who might die from the vaccine, and he put faith in God.’  

The 23-year-old basketball star, who hit headlines for not joining his fellow players in taking a knee during the National Anthem at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, pushed back at the article Monday saying he had been ‘badly misrepresented’.  

‘I am not anti-vax, I’m not anti-medicine, I am not anti-science. I didn’t come to my current stance by studying Black history or watching Donald Trump press conferences,’ he said in the briefing, posted by Steele. 

He went on to argue that having had COVID-19 in the past, he believes he has some ‘natural immunity’.

‘I had COVID in the past so our understanding of antibodies, of natural immunity has changed a great deal since the onset of the pandemic,’ he said.

He argued that getting the vaccine should be a ‘choice’ and not come about from ‘bullying’ or ‘being pressured’ by other people.  

Earlier this month, Steele also hit out at children being required to wear face masks (above)

Earlier this month, Steele also hit out at children being required to wear face masks (above)

‘It is my belief that the vaccine status of every person should be their own choice. Completely up to them without bullying, without being pressured, without being forced into doing so,’ he said. 

‘I’m not ashamed to say that I’m uncomfortable with taking the vaccine at this time. We’re all different. We all come from different places. We’ve all had different experiences and hold dear to different beliefs. 

‘And what it is you do with your body when it comes to putting medicine in there should be your choice, free of the ridicule and the opinion of others.’

Earlier this month, Steele also hit out at children being required to wear face masks. 

‘KIDS. SHOT. The sick trend continues as it has for YEARS in Chicago. Funny how no one talks about it publicly.. much less does anything about it,’ she tweeted.

‘But yes — let’s keep masking up our children! SMH. Once again, when facts don’t fit the narrative………’

Her post came in response to statistics posted on Twitter by conservative commentator Clay Travis revealing that more children have been shot in Chicago so far this year than have died from COVID-19.  

Longtime ESPN college football and basketball reporter Allison Williams (pictured) said earlier this month she was quitting the network rather than take the vaccine

Longtime ESPN college football and basketball reporter Allison Williams (pictured) said earlier this month she was quitting the network rather than take the vaccine 

Williams explained in a statement she had decided not to get the shot because she and her husband are trying for another child

Williams explained in a statement she had decided not to get the shot because she and her husband are trying for another child 

Steele’s criticism of the COVID-19 protocols comes just weeks after her colleague longtime ESPN college football and basketball reporter Allison Williams said she was quitting the network rather than take the vaccine.

Williams explained in a statement she had decided not to get the shot because she and her husband are trying for another child.

‘My heart hurts posting this but I’m at peace with my decision,’ she said.

‘While my work is incredibly important to me, the most important role I have is as a mother. 

‘Throughout our family planning with our doctor, as well as a fertility specialist, I have decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time while my husband and I try for a second child.’ 

The CDC and health experts have insisted there is no evidence the vaccine causes fertility problems in women or men and that they are safe for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and women wanting to get pregnant.  


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