Gee and Ursula’s top stories: Future of the Pac-12, Inslee’s Vaccine Mandate
MyNorthwest is bringing you highlights from the top stories and discussions from the Gee and Ursula Show July 1: Hosts Gee and Ursula discuss the University of California Los Angles and University of Southern California switching conferences and what it means for Washington collegiate sports, Gov. Inslee’s decision on a mandatory vaccine mandate, and the ongoing dispute between the State Attorney General’s Office and the City of Tacoma over documents on the death of Manuel Ellis.
A seismic shift for college sports powerhouses
UCLA and Southern Cal are finalizing plans to leave the PAC-12 conference and move to the Big 10. This could have significant ramifications, especially for college football as the Big 10 is on the verge of signing a new contract that could be worth up to one billion dollars. Now UCLA and USC will be a part of that deal.
“I hate it. I don’t like it,” Ursula said on the Gee and Ursula Show. “Honestly, I look at this and go well, just once again, why don’t we just call it what it is, semi-professional sports?”
The Los Angeles Times reported that no other Pac-12 members are expected to be added to the Big Ten at this time, including the University of Washington and Washington State.
“Is it a good thing? Ultimately, it is a great thing for all of the schools that are buying this because they make the big money, right? Now, as a father of a student-athlete that is involved in this, it’s good for him because my son doesn’t have to send me money, “Gee said in response. “When he gets money, and he gets into his endorsement money, he doesn’t have to send me money. But that’s not the same for a lot of these other young men. The pressure to send money back home, it becomes different. And this is coming from someone who has been around professionals for 19 years, and have seen how this breaks up families and how this puts pressure on these young men. Do I think players should get paid? Yes, because they should get their share of the pie. Do I think there’s going to be fallout and problems from this? Yes.”
Gee Scott’s son, Gee Scott Jr., is a junior tight end at Ohio State, a school in the Big Ten Conference. He was a top-100 prospect nationally and was a four-star prospect, according to 247Sports.com.
Gov. Inslee makes divisive vaccine decision
Governor Inslee is now directing a permanent COVID-19 vaccine requirement as part of employment for state executives and small cabinet agencies. He issued a letter yesterday stating all new state agency employees must be vaccinated against COVID and have to have up-to-date vaccines. The governor said he believes COVID-19 is here to stay and that vaccines have proven to be a good way to fight the virus.
“Come on now, Governor Jay. I think this is ridiculous. Inslee, I think you were fantastic during COVID, during the pandemic, and I’m not saying COVID has gone away,” Gee said. “But I think right now, this is a little ridiculous. To make it mandatory for people to go out there and get the booster. There are some people that won’t want to, and I don’t think that there are enough people that are dying right now. Hospitalizations are not up right now. Yes, COVID is here to stay. I don’t doubt that, but I don’t think you should make it mandatory right now.”
“It just adds to this whole idea that he’s just taken it too far and he’s power-hungry and that he is one of the few governors, if not the only governor, that still got this emergency order in effect,” Ursula added. “I think this adds to all of that. And as you said, COVID is not gone. But I think we’ll just leave it to strongly encouraging you to get the vaccine.”
An update to Inslee’s mandate from the governor’s office is Inslee is taking that action within his purview as an employer. Nothing changes for current employees as of now. The up-to-date standard applies as a condition of employment for new employees and would be bargained and implemented for others in July 2023.
“Nobody should come in here right now and say, Ursula, you can’t work here. You can’t work here unless you get the most up-to-date booster,” Gee said.
Tacoma stopping the release of important documents related to Manny Ellis’ death
The city of Tacoma is fighting the release of internal police records in the case of the officers charged with Manuel Ellis’s death. There are reports that these records include statements from other Tacoma cops who were interviewed by internal investigators as they tried to determine whether the officers who have been charged will be able to keep their jobs.
“Aren’t we tired of hearing stories that involve non-transparency of what’s going on? My question is, why? Why are we continuing to do this? We talk all the time about the mass exodus,” Gee said. “And by the way, there is across the country, people are leaving law enforcement. You keep giving people reasons to mistrust law enforcement. And I don’t think that it is fair to the men and women that put on their uniforms every single day, and go out there and do the right thing.”
The three officers have pled not guilty and, as of this reporting, are still on Tacoma Police Department’s payroll. The prosecutors with the State Attorney General’s Office said they should have access to those interviews with the other cops, but the city argues that the state is trying to strip the officers of their Fifth Amendment rights.
“And it’s so weird because it’s the city against the state, right? The city is trying to defend the officers. But I agree with the state attorney general’s office, in this case, when they say that the prosecutor should be able to hear this evidence since the interviews involve officers who’ve not been charged with any crimes,” Ursula said in response. “The city only gave some of the records to the prosecutors and all the transcripts of the officer statements were blacked out so they couldn’t be seen. And I think to do this and argue that it is a Fifth Amendment violation. I think that would set a dangerous precedent.”
33-year-old Manuel Ellis was on his way to a convenience store when the encounter happened. He was tased, choked, masked with a nylon hood, and hogtied before he died due to lack of oxygen.
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.