Washington coach Ron Rivera survived cancer last year. With so many of his players refusing to get vaccinated against COVID, Rivera (who is at risk of serious complications given his cancer battle), is understandably frustrated. Former NFL safety T.J. Ward expressed no sympathy for Rivera on social media.
“Just park the Riverboat,” Ward said. “His health is beyond that of COVID. Maybe it’s time to let it go. Don’t blame the players for your life long health decisions.”
Cancer, Dr. Ward, isn’t an STD. In many instances, it’s genetic. While some behaviors increase the risk for certain types of cancers, the idea that sympathy for cancer patients should be tempered because it’s their fault is offensive to many.
Ward had more.
“At some point you gotta pay for them vices,” he said. “Cancer runs in my family like many American families. But also bad diets and cigarettes do as well. Except responsibility. Don’t blame and be disappointed in your 23 year olds cus they have they own bodies and opinions about their health.”
Ward later deleted those tweets and added a new thread.
“Gonna address this one time more,” Ward said. “I was not trying be insensitive to anyone effected by the cancer. I know you don’t chose to get cancer. And I tried to clear that up. If you know me and my career you know what my support is for cancer people dealing with it. I’ve been effected myself closely. I didn’t mean to offend you. God bless.”
It’s just another example of the strong feelings that are making it hard if not impossible for some teams to get all players to get vaccinated. Whenever a strong argument for getting the vaccine is made, there always will be a way (clumsy or otherwise) to turn the tables in order to justify the persist refusal to do what everyone should do.