Dees premiership star slams vaccine mandates
Melbourne forward Tom McDonald has slammed vaccine mandates, saying it is "ethically wrong" to force individuals to require vaccinations to be able to work.
The 29-year-old confirmed that he had received the vaccination, but spoke after reports emerged surrounding an AFLW player's unwillingness to be vaccinated.
The AFL is yet to finalise a vaccination policy for its players, and McDonald said he would have no problem playing against an unvaccinated player next season.
"I'm vaccinated and most players would have been, but … it's ethically wrong to force people to [have] a medical procedure," McDonald told 9News Melbourne.
"We're on track — we would have gotten 90 per cent of the state — and I don't see why we needed to cause such issues and division by forcing people in many jobs where it's probably not as necessary.
"That's why you get vaccinated, to protect yourself. I don't understand why we need to force other players."
McDonald's message came as AFL Players' Association CEO Paul Marsh also pleaded for players to be afforded some privacy as they make their vaccination choice.
"We understand that football is a high profile sport, however, some things are bigger than the game, including an individual's private medical situation," Marsh wrote in a statement, in part.
"The pursuit of players who are still deciding, decide not to, or are unable to get vaccinated for COVID-19, applies unfair and unnecessary pressure on them and their loved ones in circumstances where the rest of us would be afforded privacy.
"Our players are passionate about the game and any decision to not receive a vaccine that may ultimately mean walking away from a career they love is not a decision any player would make lightly."
Marsh's sentiment was also echoed by AFLW CEO Nicole Livingstone, who said the league as a whole was working to educate players as much as possible.
"We are still living through a global pandemic, and if anybody … feels like playing a sport during a global pandemic is not for them, then I have to respect that," she told SEN.
"We'll support the players as much as we can to make an informed choice."