Zac Rinaldo exercised his freedom of choice not to get vaccinated. Now the Columbus Blue Jackets and new team president John Davidson are doing the same.
After appearing at a rally and railing against vaccine passports, the unjabbed Rinaldo has been banned from Columbus Blue Jackets’ training camp and will instead report to the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters to start the season. Rinaldo’s punishment comes weeks after the Jackets fired an assistant coach for refusing to get vaccinated.
Davidson revealed the news during a press conference on Tuesday.
“Forward Zac Rinaldo, who we signed to a two-way contract this summer, is not vaccinated and because of that — and that’s his decision — the plan is to start him in the American Hockey League and he will not be coming to our training camp,” Davidson said. He added that all 67 players on the team’s training camp roster are fully vaccinated.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 21, 2021
Rinaldo landed in hot water and went (the less bad) viral on social media in hockey circles after appearing at a People’s Party of Canada rally last week. Critics accuse the PPC of “welcoming anti-vaxxers and hate groups,” per The Hamilton Spectator.
Columbus Blue Jackets player Zac Rinaldo gave a short speech against vaccine passports at a PPC party rally this week.
“I’m not anti-vax, I’m not anti-mask. I’m pro choice.”
Interesting given CBJ just fired a coach for not being vaccinated. https://t.co/xDPje86TyQ
— Mack Lamoureux (@MackLamoureux) September 17, 2021
While the AHL was the likely destination for Rinaldo — an enforcer who has a long history of bad hits, he essentially ended any chance of a big payday in the NHL to start the season. Rinaldo makes a $750k salary playing for the Blue Jackets while he receives only $250k at the AHL level.
I've narrowed it down to 9 to 14 players plus Zac Rinaldo https://t.co/5nixV84BiR
— Good Tweet Pete 🌮 (@peterhassett) September 17, 2021
While we're watching Zac Rinaldo learn about consequences at the age of 31, spare a thought to all of the people who could have done something watchable or useful (or both!) with all his minutes over the years. pic.twitter.com/53DQ98Zniu
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) September 21, 2021
I hope Zac Rinaldo had a fun time at the rally pic.twitter.com/HYqCwd4vnu
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) September 21, 2021
zac rinaldo has turned down the first cheap shot of his life
— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) September 21, 2021
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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