Phil Gould has had enough of the NRL’s anti-vaccination saga.
The veteran Channel 9 commentator on Thursday morning said it’s time for the game to forget the players and WAGS that continue to stand against the biosecurity measures demanded by the Queensland government for the sport to resume on May 28.
The NRL is still trying to work out a revised draw for 2020, but some players’ refusal to take a flu jab looms as a complicating factor.
The Queensland government has confirmed it won’t allow players who have not been immunised without a medical excuse to train and play in the state.
It means four interstate clubs with players yet to receive the common flu jab won’t be allowed to enter the state and enjoy the special exemptions the NRL is still hoping to receive from Queensland officials.
Queensland’s stance has already forced Titans players Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly to stand down, with the pair required to tell the club by Thursday if they will adhere to a formal request to take the needle. But it also means interstate clubs could be affected when their team travels to Queensland.
Manly’s Dylan Walker and Canterbury’s Sione Katoa have already refused the inoculation, while Canberra have three players – including Josh Papalii – refusing to take the measure.
Cartwright has become the face of the stand-off with his wife Shanelle receiving support from a number of high profile Australians for her stance against vaccinations.
Gould said on Channel 9’s Today on Thursday it was time to close the book on the saga and stop giving anti-vaxxers a platform to spread their views.
“I can’t believe this nonsense has gone on this far,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the government’s made a rule, the league has made a statement, get your flu shot and get back on the field.
“I don’t know why we are giving oxygen to the stupid philosophy and allowing people to come forward with the stupid theories about anti-vaxxer and those types of things. It’s wrong, it’s been discredited a number of times and I don’t know why we are giving it the time of day.
“Get your shot and play or don’t play, simple as that.”
Gould on Wednesday also hammered anti-vaxxers, suggesting the players were putting their own children in danger by failing to immunise themselves or their kids.
“I’ve gone back several times and tried to research the philosophy behind (the anti-vax movement)… I can find absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing that makes any sense whatsoever,” Gould said on his Six Tackles With Gus Podcast.
“Yet I can find any number of research papers and evidence from experts telling us the danger of (not vaccinating).
“When adults talk about anti-vaxxing my eyes kind of glaze over. I think if that’s the way you want to be then that’s the way you want to be.
“I think what we fear for is their children. Why would you risk your children like this? It’s not the fear of the adult who doesn’t want to get a vaccination, and who wants to talk about this theory.
“What we fear is what could happen to their child if they get a serious disease that could have easily been avoided.
“That’s the fear when we speak about the people who are talking this rubbish. And it is rubbish.
“There’s no foundation for it. But I can tell you that talking to them is like talking to a brick wall. You are not going to change them, you are not going to change their opinion, you’re not going to change their mentality.
“What you are doing is giving them oxygen to keep espousing these theories and these philosophies, and none of it makes sense, absolutely none of it makes sense whatsoever.
“Those that started this movement have been discredited a hundred times over. I can’t see any sense in it whatsoever.
“If they’re having kids, you would hate… you can’t understand parents putting their own children in a position whatsoever where there is a risk they could get a serious disease.”
According to reports Kelly has now agreed to receive the jab, leaving Cartwright the sole Queensland-based player yet to agree to the biosecurity measure.