Cartwright lashes out at ‘anti-vaxxer bull***t’
Bryce Cartwright has broken his silence over the NRL vaccination debate that has involved even Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, saying: "I won't be bullied into making decisions that could impact my health".
As revealed by The Daily Telegraph, Cartwright has told Gold Coast officials he is not willing to receive what has been deemed a "compulsory" NRL flu vaccination before the restart of the competition on May 28.
The issue has ignited national debate over the past two days, with ARLC chairman Peter V'landys yet to decide on what, if any, sanctions will result for those players who refuse injections.
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It comes as Canberra players Josh Papalii, Sia Soliola and Joseph Tapine were not permitted to train on Wednesday after taking out wording on the NRL's vaccination waiver.
It's understood the Raiders trio protested the waiver in its original form and deleted a sentence which stated players must accept that they are at greater risk of contracting influenza if they did not receive the injection.
Despite their protests, the Raiders are working on a way to have the players cleared to train in the interim while the NRL works on a solution to the growing problem.
Cartwright's wife Shanelle went public on Instagram last year about the couple's anti-vaxxer stance, declaring that they had decided not to immunise either of their two children.
She also spoke about literature the pair had read to come to the decision.
Yet taking to social media on Wednesday night, Cartwright wrote: "Not once have I said I am anti-vaccinations.
"I've never claimed to be a doctor or a medical professional and I have never told anyone what they should or shouldn't do in regards to vaccinations.
"I stand for the freedom to choose what goes into our bodies. I am pro-choice, pro-informed consent and pro-medical freedom.
"I have nothing against people who choose to vaccinate so to label me an 'anti-vaxxer' is spreading misinformation. The flu shot is not mandatory in the NRL at the moment.
"Players have been offered a waiver to sign if we don't want it. Giving us the ultimatum of get the shot or be stood down is coercion."
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Within the post, Cartwright also claimed his medical information had been leaked.
For the record, The Daily Telegraph contacted the Gold Coast Titans last Sunday afternoon and asked if the 25-year-old would consent to what had been deemed a compulsory NRL flu shot given his publicised history on the issue of vaccinations.
The club said Cartwright had refused.
That night, an NRL spokesperson said League Central had not received refusals from any other players at that point in time.
The Rugby League Players Association also suggested they had not been alerted to any issue by its members, but suggested it was their understanding players could sign a waiver to continue playing.
In the two days since, League Central has determined there may be other players out there with the same issues as Cartwright, as has been widely reported, but are yet to make a call on the issue.
Cartwright continued: "As for me being the first and apparently only one declining the shot is bullshit and far from the truth.
"These are our bodies and we decide what goes in them.
"I know people in my industry with vaccine-injured children and the herd NEVER stuck around for them.
"I won't be bullied into making decisions that could impact my health and the health of my family.
"Thank you for all the messages to those standing in solidarity, I see you."
Originally published as Cartwright lashes out at 'anti-vaxxer bull***t'