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Washington State Players React to Nick Rolovich's Dismissal

Cougars who played for Rolovich came out in support for their former head coach.

Former Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich was relieved of his duties on Monday evening following his refusal to meet the state of Washington's vaccine deadline for public employees. 

Rolovich, along with four other unvaccinated assistant coaches, were sent packing despite WSU's current three-game winning streak. Rolovich now becomes the most prominent coach in college football to have been released due to COVID-19 vaccine refusal. 

(To read more on the matter, click here)

Rolovich's departure stirred a considerable amount of controversy for obvious political reasons. Rolovich made it clear during the summer that he wouldn't opt for the vaccine, and was the Pac-12's only head coach to not be vaccinated, missing the conference's media day in August. 

Yet the deed is now done. For better or worse, right or wrong, Rolovich and part of his cast are no longer with the team. 

We've seen reactions from friends, family members and even that one person you added on social media after meeting just once, although you don't really know them. 

But what about the players who played under Rolovich?

Players React to Nick Rolovich's Dismissal

Quarterback Jayden de Laura has been perhaps the most vocal of his teammates. WSU's starting passer offered these comments (via the New York Times):

"The guys covering us, they’re trying to dig a hole on our Cougar football team,” de Laura said. “I thought you guys were supposed to be supporting us, and you guys are over here trying to take out our head guy.”

He added: “There’s probably friction outside of our team. We don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. That’s you guys. That’s your guys’ perspective. You guys ain’t coming in early in the morning to come to practice and sacrifice with us.”

Following the official departure, de Laura posted a heartfelt message regarding Rolovich and his (along with others) opposition of the decision.

More WSU football players and their reactions:

Cornerback Jaylen Watson

Kicker Lucas Dunker

Receiver Calvin Jackson Jr.

Punter Nick Haberer

In a tweet that's now deleted, kicker Dean Janikowski (no, he's not related to Sebastian) said, "It’s one thing to lose a head coach it’s another thing to have your AD be late to the most important meeting of the year.”

Rolovich applied for a religious exemption but was ultimately denied. 

Washington State athletics director Pat Chun offered some direct words in a press conference following the move:

There's really no telling what direction this will lead Rolovich, the team or even the program in the future. As for now, the Cougars host BYU on Saturday prior to a road trip to Arizona State the following week. 

While it's unclear the immediate consequences of the decision, we do know that WSU's players will miss playing for their coach.