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Former WSU football coach Nick Rolovich to sue university over firing after refusing vaccine

According to a press release sent by his attorney, Rolovich is accusing WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun of "discriminatory and vindictive behavior."

PULLMAN, Wash. — Former Washington State University football coach Nick Rolovich was fired Tuesday, Oct. 19 after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and now he plans to sue the university. 

According to his lawyer, Rolovich will be taking legal action against WSU and all parties responsible for his termination. The decision to terminate Rolovich came after his request for a religious exemption from the vaccine was denied by the WSU. According to his lawyer, WSU  "indicated that even if the exemption had been granted, no accommodation would have been made."

Rolovich is accusing WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun of "discriminatory and vindictive behavior," according to the statement from his lawyer, Brian Fahling.

"Since at least early April, it became clear that Chun had already determined that Coach Rolovich would be fired," Fahling says. "Chun’s animus towards Coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of Coach Rolovich during the past year is damning and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation."

In the statement, Fahling says, "Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior has caused immeasurable harm to Rolovich and his family. It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture, and more specifically, on Chun, that Rolovich has been derided, demonized, and ultimately fired from his job, merely for being devout in his Catholic faith."

Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, has encouraged people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Here is the statement from Rolovich's lawyer in full:

"The termination of Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich on Monday was unjust and unlawful. 

It came after Coach Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption from the vaccine was denied by the University. The institution also indicated that even if the exemption had been granted, no accommodation would have been made. As a result, Coach Rolovich will be taking legal action against Washington State University, and all parties responsible for his illegal termination. 

Immediately after terminating Coach Rolovich, WSU Athletic Director, Pat Chun, directed campus police to escort the coach to his car, he wasn’t allowed into his office, and he was not even allowed to speak to his team. Since at least early April, it became clear that Chun had already determined that Coach Rolovich would be fired. Chun’s animus towards Coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of Coach Rolovich during the past year is damning and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation. 

Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior has caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family. Furthermore, the University’s deceitfulness about being unable to accommodate Coach Rolovich even if his religious exemption request had been granted, is exemplified by Chun’s actions arranging a “secret” donor trip that he had Coach Rolovich attend at the height of the pandemic in July 2020. 

During that excursion, Chun and other attendees contracted the disease, but Coach Rolovich did not. It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture, and more specifically, on Chun, that Coach Rolovich has been derided, demonized, and ultimately fired from his job, merely for being devout in his Catholic faith."

KREM has reached out to WSU for a statement but has not yet received a response.