The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Backs West Michigan University Athletes Seeking Vaccine Exemption

Two football players who attend Western Michigan University

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Federal District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney’s preliminary injunction, which allows 16 Western Michigan University (WMU) athletes to continue playing intercollegiate sports despite refusing a Covid-19 vaccine shot.

Appellate Judges Ralph B. Guy, Jr., David W. McKeague, and Chad A. Readler issued their opinion confirming WMU violated the athletes’ First Amendment rights by denying their requests for a religious exemption from the mandate. This decision is now binding precedent in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“The University put plaintiffs to the choice: get vaccinated or stop fully participating in intercollegiate sports,” the opinion says. “The University did not dispute that taking the vaccine would violate plaintiffs’ ‘sincerely held Christian beliefs.’ Yet refusing the vaccine prevents plaintiffs from participating in college sports, as they are otherwise qualified (and likely were recruited) to do. By conditioning the privilege of playing sports on plaintiffs’ willingness to abandon their sincere religious beliefs, the University burdened their free exercise rights.”

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Americans’ Allegiance to National Anthem Remains Strong Despite Protests, Poll Shows

Polling ahead of the 2021 NFL season indicates that, despite an increasingly political landscape for the sport and its fans, Americans overwhelmingly would prefer that the National Anthem continue to be the sole anthem played prior to games.

According to a recent poll conducted by Newt Gingrich’s American Majority Project in conjunction with McLaughlin & Associates, a total of 61% of Americans believe that “only” the American National Anthem should be played at NFL Games. That figure ticks up slightly to 64% among Republicans, and falls to 58% among Independents, while 11% of those polled said they don’t know.

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National Gingrich 360 Anthem X-tabs 8-3-21 .pdf
The poll was conducted in the wake of the NFL’s recent decision to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – often referred to as the black national anthem – before all games during the upcoming season, ahead of the playing of the American National Anthem. The song was initially introduced by the NFL when it was sung by Alicia Keys at the Super Bowl for the 2020-2021 season. The decision to play the song before each game is reportedly part of the league’s quarter-billion dollar investment in social justice messaging and initiatives.

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Terrible TV Ratings Leave NBC, Advertisers Worried: Report

The Tonight Show - NBC Studios sign

NBC Universal and its advertisers are becoming worried about the success of Olympic broadcasting as TV ratings plunge and star athletes struggle, Variety reported on Tuesday.

Low TV viewing numbers and early exits from star athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have caused anxiety from Olympic advertisers, Variety reported.

Despite beating competitors’ nightly program views, the Olympics are “clearly not what NBC, our agency or our clients were looking for,” an unnamed media buying executive told Variety.

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After Testing Positive for COVID, Olympic Athletes Summarily Expelled

Olympics ring logo in dark in Tokyo

Five U.S. athletes have tested positive for coronavirus prior to the start of the Tokyo Olympics, crushing their dreams of competing in the world’s largest sporting event.

U.S. men’s basketball player Bradley Beal tested positive on July 15 which made him unable to travel to Tokyo, USA basketball announced in a tweet.

U.S women’s tennis star Coco Gauff announced on twitter that she tested positive for COVID on July 18. Gauff, 17, received her positive test in Tokyo, and has been barred from competing in the Olympic games, according to the tweet.

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Biologically Male Middle School Student Can Run on Girls’ Cross Country Team, Judge Rules

Man running on a gravel road during the day with a blue shirt on

A biologically male middle school student may run on a girl’s cross country team this fall in spite of West Virginia’s new law banning biological males from women’s sports, U.S. Circuit Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ruled Wednesday.

Lawyers from the ACLU-West Virginia had argued that HB 3293 would unfairly prevent the 11-year-old student, Becky Pepper-Jackson, from participating on a girls cross country team.

Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday allowing Pepper-Jackson to “sign up for and participate in school athletics in the same way as her girl classmates.”

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