Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins (seen above getting hit by the Saints’ Cameron Jordan last December) made a lot of headlines Thursday with his comments about choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and considering even such radical measures as surrounding himself with plexiglass instead. That’s now led to a hospital in Holland, Michigan (where Cousins went to high school) discontinuing a spokesperson relationship with him. Here’s more on that from Peg McNichol of Holland news radio station WHTC:
Holland Hospital has ended a relationship Holland native and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins over his comments this week related to COVID-19.
Cousins said this week he has no plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which has frustrated his coach and others, according to CBS Sports. Hospital videos featuring him date back to 2017. WHTC has asked him for a response to the hospital’s decision.
There was no money exchanged as part of the sponsorship agreement, according to hospital officials.
Here’s the hospital’s full statement, from later in that piece:
“As the trusted health care leader along the lakeshore, we are committed to providing accurate, timely health information and guidance based on guidelines from the CDC and medical experts.
While we acknowledge that each person is entitled to their own viewpoints, those who speak on our behalf must support messages that align with the hospital’s position on matters of vital importance to individual and community health.
For this reason, Holland Hospital will discontinue using Kirk Cousins as our spokesperson for now. We are proud of our association with Kirk. He embodies many values we respect and share as part of our work culture.
However, we must be certain that our communications about COVID vaccination are consistent and unequivocal.
The clear recommendation from the CDC and leading medical experts is that the COVID vaccine is safe, effective and the best defense against becoming infected with the virus. Evidence also indicates that vaccinated individuals may be less likely to carry and transmit the virus to others including children, family members and friends.
For these reasons, Holland Hospital has and will continue to strongly recommend the COVID vaccine to those who are eligible to receive it. It is important that Holland Hospital maintain the trusted reputation we have earned for providing consistent, truthful information and evidence-based health care guidance.”
As noted in McNichol’s piece, this isn’t Cousins losing an endorsement deal, as money wasn’t involved in the sponsorship arrangement. And this arrangement probably was something that made sense for both sides at the time; Holland Hospital got some videos featuring a famous NFL player from the area, and Cousins got to help out a hospital in an area that’s important to him. But at the same time, it makes sense for the hospital to cut ties now. It would be awfully difficult for a hospital to continue to feature a spokesperson who doesn’t believe in vaccines.
[WHTC, Pro Football Talk; photo from Chuck Cook, USA Today Sports]