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Sunday, February 6, 2022
MRC Sports Blogger Keeps Pushing Anti-Vaxxer Talking Points
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how Media Research Center Media  Research Center sports blogger John Simmons has leaned hard into far-right anti-vaxx and and anti-mandate narratives, and he hasn't stopped doing so. 

Simmons dredged up an old complaint about the very name of the virus in a Oct. 27 post, complaining that Houston Texans chairman Cal McNair got busted for calling COVID the "China virus" and huffing, "Isn’t it a pathetic state of affairs in our country when anytime someone claims the facts of the situation they are deemed as racist and insensitive?" Ofcourse, given that COVID is a well-established name, there's really no legitimate reason outside of racism or insensitivity to call it the "China virus."

Simmons found another dubious victim of a vaccine mandate to tout in a Nov. 16 post:

In the book of Daniel, three young men by the name of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace after refusing to worship a gargantuan golden god created and instituted by the tyrannical King of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar. While we don’t have a government that is forcing Christians to bow to idols of metal, Christians are increasingly being punished for not bowing to the god of COVID.

Teryn Gregson was a PGA Tour host and reporter as of Monday but was terminated after the company refused to provide her a religious exemption from it's  testing and mask mandates for unvaccinated employees.

Gregson, who is an outspoken Christian and is also carrying a child, made an emotional online speech detailing her viewpoint on the vaccine and mandates in general:

A few weeks earlier, Simmons took the side of another pregnant sp[orts reporter who lost her job for refusing to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, it has since been proven that the COVID vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their children, and that the face more risk by remaining unvaccinated. Simmons has not updated his post to reflect this accurate medical information.

Further, Simmons censored the fact that the PGA said in response it didn't have a vaccine mandate and, thus, no reason for Gregson to seek one, though it does have health and safety protocols and PGA employees in Florida were required to report to work in person starting Nov. 1 after working from home since the pandemic began. Finally, we thought facts-not-feelings right-wingers like Simmons weren't supposed to be swayed by an "emotional online speech."

Simmons concluded his post by melodramatically rehashing the Bible theme: "In the Bible, the three men were rewarded for their loyalty to God by surviving being thrown into the fiery furnace. Hopefully, Gregson will experience a similar experience of salvation from her enemies in the near future."

Two days later, Simmons lashed out NFL safety protocols:

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the NFL is instituting a COVID-19 safety policy that makes no sense whatsoever.

Unfortunately, the latest chapter in the NFL’s COVID insanity novel is being written, as the NFL will now require stricter COVID-19 protocols for players once they return from Thanksgiving.

It’s the standard craziness you’ve heard before for players and staff once they return from the holiday: increased testing and mask-wearing, with all football personnel required to be tested the Monday and Wednesday after Thanksgiving and mask-wearing at all team facilities from November 25 to December 1, regardless of vaccination status.


The overreaching, nonsensical, and fear-based protocols the NFL has implemented throughout the year have ignored science, disregarded personal choice, and divided the league between the good (vaccinated) and bad (unvaccinated) people. While the new memo is simply a reflection of the insanity that has ruled the league, it is still disheartening to see the NFL trying to exercise its power over families and encroach on the holidays.

The emergence of the Omincron variant a few weeks later would seem to make the NFL's protocols prescient rather than oppressive.

Simmons went full anti-vaxxer in a Dec. 2 post expressing glee that NBA star LeBron James tested positive for COVID, with a little backhanded sympathy thrown in:

The Left has championed the COVID-19 vaccine as the magical potion by which we can all be saved from ever having to deal with the effects of the virus again. However, LeBron James showed us on Wednesday that is not entirely true.


Despite being a public figure who has a knack for saying things he shouldn’t (i.e. criticizing Kyle Rittenhouse for crying during his trial) and for being silent on China’s forced labor camps, it is sad to see that athletes like James are still put through unnecessary precautions to protect against the virus. Men in their peak physical prime should not have to wait 10 days to get back to work just so others can feel safe. No one would blame Michael Jordan – who played one of the best games of his career with the flu – for being disgusted with how soft the league has become.

It is also ironic that a vaccinated player is the one who contracted the virus. Yes, it continues to prove the point that jabbing yourself does not automatically guarantee that you’ll be safe from ever getting COVID again (which is what people with a shred of common sense have been saying all along).

But it also would be nice if the vaccine worked as advertised. If you believe that taking the vaccine is the most logical way to protect yourself against the virus, by all means, take it.


James’ situation should be another reminder that we should not blindly take the vaccine because the government says so. Do your research, draw your own conclusions, make a decision, and live with the results, but do not take the jab just because the government tells you to.

There was no mention of the fact that the Omicron variant is much more contagious than previous variants, and that while the vaccine is less effective at preventing infection, they do make it much more likely that you will get severely ill or die from an infection.

Nevertheless, Simmons lashed out against vaccines again in a Dec. 14 post:

The NFL seems to think that vaccinating their employees out of the wazoo is going to solve all their problems and make COVID cases go down or disappear. The NFL had 37 positive tests yesterday, which is high because those numbers reflect the results of the vaccinated players and personnel, who only get tested once per week. Ironic that vaccinated team personnel is still showing multiple cases of getting sick with COVID; it’s almost like the vaccine does not work as advertised.

But enough with the right-winged conspiracy talk, let’s talk about how the guardians of society in the NFL are handling the situation.


The NFL should have taken a lesson from this situation: vaccination does not equal ultimate safety. It might lower the number of cases and give them peace of mind for a little bit, but it does not solve the root problem of living life with COVID.

Injecting booster shots won’t take it away and firing “un-boosted” employees won’t solve the problem, just ask the 37 people whose Mondays got off to a worse start than most of ours. We live in a COVID world now, and we have to stop acting like it’s a disease we know nothing about and that savagely destroys the majority of our country’s population.

Again, Simmons failed to mention how contagious Omicron is.

On Dec. 23, Simmons complained that sports commentators complained about NBA star Kyrie Irving -- whom Simmons previously praised for being an anti-vaxxer despite his selfishness in harming his team -- was being allowed to play again despite remaining unvaccinated. He went on to cheer that "it seems like Irving, who was widely criticized by sports talking heads and writers alike, will get the last laugh."

In a Dec. 27 post, Simmons gushed over pro golfer Phil Mickelson for "not buying into the Left's fear-mongering" and asking in a tweet why, since Omicron purportedly hadn't been killing anyone, we shouldn't let COVID run amok and let "natural immunity" take its course, adding: "Mickelson naturally received a lot of flack for having a level of common sense, but he’s onto something. If this is a disease that has symptoms comparable to the common cold and has a far lower death rate than the first edition of COVID-19, why is there so much panic surrounding it?" Simmons didn't mention all the sensible answers Mickelson got in response to his query; instead, he declared, "Mickelson is right in saying that if the disease is so low risk, we should just trust that our bodies will adapt to the sickness and protect us naturally. But since there is no money for or control in this approach, he will likely be dismissed as irrational."

In that same post, Simmons again unusually praised James, this time for posting a meme to his Instagram page equating COVID, flu and the common cold, asserting that "just this once his thoughts were trending in the right direction." In fact, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called out James' false conflation of those viruses and demonstrated how he was wrong. But Simmons was much more happy with sports figures spouting right-wing talking points on COVID:

Yes, people have died from COVID, which is a sad and unfortunate reality of the past two years. But the reality is that a majority of people are not seriously affected by COVID in the long run and the symptoms are mild in most cases. Shutting down our businesses, sports leagues, and our entire country – all while living in fear – will accomplish no good.

Mickelson and Lebron get it. The question is, when will the rest of us?

Well over 800,000 people were "seriously affected" by COVID through being killed by it. Meanwhile, mnore than half the people who catch it suffer from "long COVID" -- symptoms that persist for at least six months after recovering from the virus. That sounds like they're being "seriously affected," but Simmons will never admit it.

We get it. The question is, when will Simmons?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2022 9:37 PM EST

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