Topic: Media Research Center
When he (or she) isn't hating on LGBT people or spreading conspiracy theories about election fraud, Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson is going anti-vaxxer, raging at sports teams and leagues for requiring their players to receive the COVID vaccine. Maxson ranted in a June 17 post:
The micro-managing, freedom-stifling NFL control freaks are going way out of bounds in newly announced vaccination requirements. The league on Wednesday released a list of 10 ways it can punish teams without a full roster of vaccinated players.
SB Nation reports teams without 100 percent of their players vaccinated “will have a much, much more difficult season under new rules.” Along with: “Players can still choose not to get vaccinated, but they’re not free from consequences.” Both are huge under-statements.
The NFL’s new guidelines are so petty that they extend to family interactions and player use of team cafeterias, weight rooms and saunas. Fully vaccinated teams don’t have any restrictions in these regards.
It’s fair game to say some of these draconian rules challenge individual and civil rights.
Maxson followed that up on June 21 by complaining that anti-vaxxer athletes were getting called out:
Sports media outlets over the weekend unleashed their fury on former and current pro athletes who spoke out against COVID-19 vaccinations. NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton and current Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley are expressing concerns about vaccines.
NBC Sports Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio went ballistic on Beasley, saying he “unfairly assailed the NFL Players Association for agreeing to rules that give vaccinated players far more freedom in 2021 than players who refuse to get vaccinated.”
Deadspin writer Bryan Fonseca piled on Stockton, too: “The ex-Gonzaga Bulldog even went on to add that he conducted his own research, which he’s holding to a higher regard than the health professionals who are researching all this for a living, a common pivot from people who have yet to be vaccinated, and probably won’t be.”
Research can apparently only be trusted if it’s in agreement with the beliefs of the left-stream media. Or if it comes from the mouth of LeBron James, who boasts of how well he educates himself on issues (but won't say if he's been vaccinated or not). Then it’s the Gospel truth.
On July 30, Maxson grumbled that one NFL player ultimately did the right thing:
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was not planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, he has backed down out of fear that the NFL will make his life miserable if he refuses to get the shots, and he’s getting the vaccine.
Many are roasting the NFL for his draconian vaccine-or-else pressure. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins >even suggested he may end his pro football career over being made to get vaccinated.
On the flip side, Vanity Fair thinks the NFL imposing the choice on athletes is peachy-keen. Its headline declares "The NFL Is Setting the Standard for COVID Vaccine Crackdowns."
Maxson then forwarded a typical anti-vaxxer argument, claiming that "Numerous athletes have tested positive for COVID despite having been vaccinated." Maxson didn't mention that the Delta variant is much more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19 -- even among vaccinated people -- or that vaccinated people who catch COVID are much less likely to be severely ill from it, which is the best argument for getting vaccinated.
Maxson huffed on Aug. 13 that a college football team was making the safety of its spectators a priority:
Vaccine mandates have reached into college football. Tulane University is the first major college football school to require so-called vaccine “passports,” and it now remains to be seen if other universities will follow like lemmings.
To attend a Tulane home game this season, fans will be required to prove they’ve been vaccinated or have tested negatively for COVID-19 within the past 72 hours. On top of these stipulations, all fans must wear masks at the outdoor game site.
All of this assumes that vaccines still lacking full FDA approval are the be-all, end-all to the spread of coronavirus infections. When in fact, that’s not true. News apparently hasn’t yet reached New Orleans about vaccine failures and complications, or people catching COVID-19 for the second time. Tulane only averages 20,000 fans per home game to begin with, and now the school wants to make it tougher to draw fans? Go figure.
Maxson then sounded like a full anti-vaxxer by pushing horror stories of alleged adverse effects to the vaccine:
A few weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (Rep-Wis.) held a press conference featuring individuals who’ve suffered terrible reactions to vaccines. Among them was the wife of former Green Bay Packer Ken Ruettgers, who received the Moderna vaccine in January. Four days after receiving the first dose, she experienced severe neurological reactions that still inhibit her ability to live a normal life, including muscle pain, numbness, weakness and paresthesia. Others told similar horror stories, including one woman who incurred $250,000 in medical expenses.
Does Tulane University really want to flirt with liability for similar stories resulting from its football games? Do other universities across the nation want to be complicit in health horror stories as well? Football fans can choose to stay home and direct their own health decisions, rather than take unneeded risks forced on them by football teams. This fall, we’ll find out how essential Tulane football really is in the minds of fans.
Maxon is apparently referring to a June 28 press conference that Johnson held. Johnson was later forced to concede that there's no actual evidence any COVID vaccine caused the side effects he was hyping. Maxson didn't mention that more than 600,000 Americans have been killed by COVID, and that many millions of Americans have received the vaccine without incident.
Maxson moved his (or her) ire from football to basketball in an Aug. 30 post:
The National Basketball Association announced over the weekend a new vaccine mandate for its referees, coaches and others who work with players. With few exceptions allowed, these people must get the jab and recommended boosters. However, players and fans are not facing a vaccine ultimatum. How unfair is that for those under the mandate?
Referees – as well as trainers and coaches -- appear to be the NBA’s low-hanging fruit. The league may be too cowardly to try to force LeBron “King” James and other high-profile players to take the jab. The National Basketball Referees Association sold out its constituency on the vaccination mandate. What will happen with referees who suffer adverse reactions to vaccines is anybody’s guess at this point.
Maxson spent an entire Sept. 2 post ranting about "draconian vaccine mandates": "Like the rest of society, the sports realm is spinning out of control over draconian vaccine mandates. Vaccine-related madness is dominating today’s media reports on pro football, basketball and baseball." Like mosdt anti-vaxxers, Maxson never explains why it's so "draconian" to try to save lives and maintain public health so sports can go on.
Maxon went on to rant about his current cause celebre, NFL player Tyrann Mathieu: "He got vaccinated. Then he caught COVID-19. So vaccines do not guarantee insulation from the coronavirus. And besides, the vaccine gestapo are now hyping boosters, which further undermine the efficacy of vaccines." Again: Vaccines don't completely eliminate the threat, but they do keep you from getting severely sick if you catch it again. (Again, Maxson censored the fact that the Delta variant has changed the game.) And the claim that vaccine boosters "undermine the efficacy of vaccines" is nonsensical. The effectiveness of many vaccines wane over time, and at least some of them require booster shots -- there's a reason one gets a flu shot every year.
The MRC has generally not been an anti-vaxxer organization -- it's all about politics, being against whatever liberals are for just to be contrarian -- but it allows Maxson to act like a far-right anti-vaxxer. Not good for the MRC's image.