American surf champ Kelly Slater has been warned he can’t compete in Australia without a COVID jab after he slammed the “virtuous vaccinated” in a post on social media.
Australian Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck quickly pointed out that there’s “no chance” Slater, 49, can come into the country to compete in two World Surf League championship events this spring — the Rip Curl Pro south of Melbourne, and the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia — unless he’s vaccinated.
Slater has not revealed his vaccination status, but he repeated unfounded anti-vaccination talking points in his social media commentary.
“I reckon he knows the rules,” said Colbeck, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a surfer, or a tennis player, a tourist or anyone else, those are the rules. They apply to everyone.”
Colbeck’s warning came after Slater, an 11-time world surfing champ, slammed Australian officials earlier this month in response to a New York Times Instagram post about Novak Djokovic. The Serbian tennis star was deported from the country on Sunday, the eve of the Australian Open, because he refused to be vaccinated.
“Maybe Stockholm Syndrome can now change its name to Melbourne/Australia Syndrome,” wrote an irritated Slater.
“It’s sad to see the celebrated division by the ‘virtuous’ vaccinated. If you’re vaccinated why are you concerned/worried about anyone else’s status … unless, of course, it doesn’t protect you? ... So much brainwashed hatred in people’s hearts regardless of vax status.”
Slater has said he is not opposed to COVID vaccines — but is against mandatory vaccination.