‘Significant implications’: Melbourne Storm CEO addresses Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s Covid-19 vaccination stance
The Melbourne Storm concedes Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s reluctance to become vaccinated against Covid-19 could have “significant implications” on his playing future.
Asofa-Solomona has raised concerns about vaccination with the Storm since the conclusion of the 2021 NRL season.
The NRL has not followed the AFL’s lead in mandating vaccination, but has been transparent about needing to comply with public health orders.
Currently, Victoria is the only state in which professional athletes must be vaccinated in order to train and play.
Earlier this month, the Daniel Andrews government announced that all essential workers, including professional athletes, must have had two shots of a Covid-19 vaccine by November 26 in order to work in Victoria.
Speaking on SEN, Storm chief executive officer Justin Rodski said the club was grappling with unprecedented circumstances.
‘“It’s obviously a pretty complicated issue and there’s no textbook for this,” he said.
“We haven’t been through this before as an industry and or even as a society.
“There’s a whole range of complexities that sit around this.
“At this stage, (Asofa-Solomona) has got about two weeks to consider whether or not to get vaccinated. The return date for our senior players is December 7, so there’s still a little bit of time.
“From a personal point of view, there’s a whole range of factors and considerations that players, staff and anyone who is deemed an authorised worker in Victoria needs to consider, because the state government’s health orders have deemed that all authorised workers need to double vaccinated.”
Rodski said the Storm is continuing to provide its players with education around vaccination.
“We’ve been in contact with all of our players and provided them with all of the health advice that they need,” he said.
“From here it’s just going to be a matter of understanding what the final position is and then working through it from there.”
He admitted that Asofa-Solomona’s continual reluctance to become vaccinated could have “significant” ramifications.
“Right now as it stands we don’t have to make that decision, but clearly there could be implications for the club if we do have an unvaccinated player because they won’t be able to train and therefore won’t be able to fulfil their contract, which clearly has significant implications on our club and on a player that’s being paid a lot of money,” he said.
“We want them to come and do a proper pre-season so that they’re ready to play.”
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