The MRC's Sports Anti-Vaxxer
Mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson hates COVID vaccines almost as much as he (or she) hates LGBT people.
By Terry Krepel
When he (or she) isn't hating on LGBT people or spreading conspiracy theories about election fraud, mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson has been going anti-vaxxer, raging at sports teams and leagues for requiring their players 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maxson 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?
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 most anti-vaxxers, Maxson never explains why it's so "draconian" to try to save lives and maintain public health so sports can go on.
Maxson went on to rant about his then-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, after all.
In an Oct. 5 post, Maxson got upset that NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (whose name he misspelled as "Kareen") "managed to link coronavirus vaccinations with race, particularly Black Lives Matter" in an NPR interview, huffing in response:
Kyrie Irving and other non-vaccinated players who fully supported BLM beg to differ. The two issues are not conjoined at the hip. These players are showing this by their actions, by their personal discernment.
Two days later, Maxson got upset that Canada was enforcing vaccine mandates and didn't exclude pro basketball players, invoking Kyrie Irving again:
There is no point in unvaccinated NBA players making the road trip to Toronto. That Canadian city can sentence them to jail time and fine them $750,000 for leaving their hotel, according to a report in The Athletic. Other NBA cities will prevent such players from playing in games and also from attending practices. Yes, it’s one big, tangled web of freedom-dousing nonsense gripping the league.
Maxson's whining continued on Oct. 10:
ESPN’s blog, The Undefeated, jumped down LeBron James’ throat for not calling on all NBA players to submit to COVID-19 vaccinations. The coronavirus pandemic is actually an act of social justice and a fight for equality rivaling opposition to police brutality, says The Undefeated’s senior writer David Dennis Jr.
Maxson was perversely happy in an Oct. 17 post cheering how turning thousands of college football fans into guinea pigs ended up working out better than many people expected:
Have a plate of crow, fear-mongers Dr. Anthony Fauci and Joy Reid. Your expectations of huge college football stadiums packed with thousands of fans serving as super-spreaders of COVID-19 have been disproven.
This partisan Fauci-bashing was an echo of a post Tim Graham had written the day before.
Of course, just because there was no spike in COVID cases during that period does not mean that COVID did not spread at stadiums.
In an Oct. 21 post, Maxson cheered that Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich, who was fired for refusing to get vaccinated, was contemplating legal action against the university. Maxson went on to complain that other media outlets pointed out that Rolovich's attempt to claim a religious exemption because of his Catholic faith was shot down because "Pope Francis and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have stated that 'all Covid-19 vaccines are morally acceptable and that Catholics have a duty, responsibility or obligation to be vaccinated.'"
As the highly contagious Omicron variant swept through the NBA, Maxson was ready to lash out again at the sport in a Dec. 12 post -- though there was no acknowledgment of Omicron's highly contagious nature:
This is supposed to be the league that is on the cutting edge of dealing with the pandemic. It was the first sports league to cease operations last year when the coronavirus flared up in the United States. It later restored action in a Florida bubble, where players were practically under house arrest between games. This is the league with a franchise in Brooklyn, which will not allow unvaccinated all-star Kyrie Irving (seen above in photo) to play or practice. It’s a league with a team in Canada that, next year, will not allow unvaccinated NBA players to enter the country.
Maxson lashed out again at vaccination protocols (while finally acknowledging that Omicron exists) in pro sports in a Dec. 17 post:
Okay, vaccinations and protocols are not working, and professional sports were not supposed to be looking at a COVID-induced long dark winter. The experts and the politicians had all the “scientific answers.” Talk of temporary shutdowns and bubbles were supposed to be things of the past.
The next day, Maxson freaked out at a New York Times suggestion that pro sports shut down until the Omicron wave passes:
The NBA, NHL and NFL have higher vaccination rates than the public at large. Most pro athletes have also received booster shots. Yet none of this has prevented the current surge of infections proving the experts are wrong and they don’t have the inside track on “science.”
But Maxson clearly wants the status quo, which has arguably been working far worse.
Maxson came to Irving's defense again in a sneering Jan. 13 post:
Did you know that COVID-19 vaccines are one of the modern wonders of the world? One of the nation’s top athletes isn’t aware of this though. The Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving needs to put aside his ignorance, get jabbed, keep everyone in New York City safe and serve as a good role model for people, says SBNation sportswriter Ricky O’Donnell.
Publishing an anti-science anti-vaxxer is probably not the look the MRC really wants.
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.