Former NFL safety T.J. Ward says Washington head coach Ron Rivera shouldn't blame his players for "your life long health decisions," a misguided-at-best take directed at the head coach who has successfully battled cancer.
Rivera publicly expressed frustration with his team as they arrived at training camp this week, many still unvaccinated. Only 60 percent of the Washington Football Team has received the vaccine for covid-19, the lowest vaccination rate in the NFL.
"Just park the Riverboat. His health is beyond that of COVID. Maybe it's time to let it go," Ward tweeted in response to a Bleacher Report article reporting on Rivera's quotes. "Don't blame the players for your life long health decisions."
Rivera was diagnosed with Squamous cell carcinoma last year, of which he's since been cleared after treatment, but it's left him in the high-risk category of potential covid victims because he's now immune-deficient.
Ward went off even further, writing, "At some point you gotta pay for them vices. Cancer runs in my family like many American families. But also bad diets and cigarettes do as well. Except responsibility. Don’t blame and be disappointed in your 23 year olds cus they have they own bodies and opinions about there health."
"Y'all be on here getting mad for anything. Can't think for yourselves and you damn sure don't do no damn research," Ward went on to write. "Y'all got a issue with what I said come ask me about it. I know cancer. So know me before you talk that bullshit! And furthermore, how do you expect somebody to have empathy for your situation when you refuse to have it for where other people stand?! Continue on though! That's psychotic! Unempathetic by exact definition. And selfish but I’m wrong? LOL FOH."
Ward, who was last on an NFL roster in 2020, has since deleted the disparaging tweets and offered something of an apology.
"Gonna address this one time more," he wrote. "I was not trying be insensitive to anyone effected by the cancer. I know you don’t chose to get cancer. And I tried to clear that up. If you know me and my career you know what my support is for cancer people dealing with it. I’ve been effected Myself closely. I didn’t mean to offend you. God bless."