Former Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich said he will sue the university for illegal termination after he was fired for refusing to comply with the school’s vaccine mandate.
Just received this from an attorney representing Nick Rolovich, who plans to sue #WashingtonState for illegal termination. Accuses AD Pat Chun of “discriminatory and vindictive behavior.” pic.twitter.com/KTOnIchKXD
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 20, 2021
Rolovich, a devout Catholic, applied for a religious exemption from the mandate, but it was denied. He and four other assistant coaches were fired on Monday as a result.
Rolovich said he was not even allowed to speak to his team after being fired. Instead, he was escorted to his car by campus police immediately, according to ESPN.
“Since at least last April, it became clear that [Washington State athletic director Pat] Chun had already determined that coach Rolovich would be fired,” said Brian Fahling, Rolovich’s lawyer, in a statement.
“Chun’s animus towards coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of coach Rolovich during the past year is damning and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation.”
Chun dismissed Rolovich’s complaint, saying Rolovich knew what his choices would be regarding the vaccine mandate for months.
“He was resolute in his stance and his right to make a choice,” Chun said. “That choice did not put him in compliance with this proclamation from the governor, and that is why we sit here today.”
However, Fahling argued Chun was “deceitful” towards Rolovich.
“It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture, and more specifically, on Chun, that Coach Rolovich has been derided, demonized and ultimately fired from his job, merely for being devout in his Catholic faith,” Fahling added.
It was reported earlier in the week that Arizona was receiving applications from many of the state’s law-enforcement officials who also refuse the vaccine mandate.