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Navy has fired assistant football coach Billy Stutzmann for refusing to get vaccinated, despite his request for a religious exemption.
“Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy’s COVID-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months,” Stutzmann tweeted.
“After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy. I continue to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues. I wish Navy football nothing by the best in the future.”
The Pentagon announced in August that members of the United States military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, not specifying whether it would grant exemptions for religious beliefs.
Stutzmann was in his third season as an assistant. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo has not commented on the academy’s decision.
“I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to coach at the United States Naval Academy for the past two seasons under head coach Ken Niumatalolo, where I have learned from one of the best in the business,” Stutzmann wrote. “Coach Niumatalolo and his wife Barbara have made my family’s time in Annapolis very special and we are forever grateful.”
Navy is 0-2 following last weekend’s loss to Air Force and has yet to record more than one touchdown on the season. The Midshipmen visit Houston on Saturday.