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The attorney representing fired Washington State offensive line coach Mark Weber, who along with head coach Nick Rolovich and other assistants were terminated for declining COVID-19 vaccinations for religious reasons, believes WSU athletic director Pat Chun is violating her client’s constitutional rights.
“Athletic Director Pat Chun’s termination of Washington State Football’s offensive line coach Mark Weber is in direct violation of coach Weber’s rights as recognized by both the US and Washington Constitutions,” constitutional attorney KrisAnne Hall said in a statement provided exclusively to OutKick.com on Thursday.
“Chun’s decision to deny coach Weber’s religious exemption was both arbitrary and capricious. We agree with coach Rolovich’s attorney, that Chun’s hostility toward the coaches who requested religious exemptions was demonstrable very early on.
“Coach Weber stands in unity with coach Rolovich and will also pursue legal action for these violations.”
Hall said Chun’s denial of Weber’s request for reasonable accommodation for his “sincerely held religious beliefs” also contradicts the policy, pattern, and practice of Washington State University.
Hall said there is an “abundance of evidence” proving Weber’s request for accommodation does not present any undue hardship for WSU football — which is a necessary legal plateau to which any litigation seeking a religious exemption must climb.
Hall provided OutKick with the following outline of evidence:
— WSU students, who will be attending the games, are being granted religious exemptions.
— WSU athletes are being granted religious exemptions.
— Opposing team, including coaches and players who will be playing in the same stadiums and having direct physical contact with WSU coaches and players, will be present because of their college granting religious exemptions.
— WSU sports have been operating “safely and effectively” for two years with the same accommodations coach Weber is requesting.
— There is no evidence any WSU coach has risked the health and safety of the players using the requested reasonable alternatives safety protocols.
“Every one of these facts make it even more evident that Chun’s decision to terminate coach Weber was one derived from discriminatory origins and not from undue hardship,” Hall said. “Coach Weber is being publicly ridiculed and fired from his job by Chun because of his sincerely held religious beliefs.
“No one should be expected to abandon their most fundamental rights to keep a paycheck, especially in America. This ought to be even more true in a university that professes a pride in their policies of inclusion and diversity.
“It is especially heartbreaking when that professed inclusion is only extended to those characteristics personally approved by athletic director Chun.”
Chun was not immediately available for comment.
Rolovich, Weber, along defensive tackles coach Ricky Logo, assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach John Richardson and co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Craig Stutzmann were fired for being noncompliant with state and university policies about the COVID-19 vaccine and received no religious exemption for those policies.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero