A former Brisbane Lions footballer is taking legal action against his old club after being forced out of the game for refusing a Covid-19 vaccination.
Cam Ellis-Yolmen has launched a $200,000 legal claim against the Lions after he was sidelined in January last year for not taking the jab.
He had applied for a vaccine exemption on medical and on cultural grounds but was denied by the AFL.
“I got a medical exemption for everything else in Australia, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get it for playing footy, which is ridiculous and in hindsight didn’t make sense,” Ellis-Yolmen said this week.
“I got pushed out of the game and that was it. Not many people reached out to me. I felt alienated and pretty alone when the AFL promotes such an inclusive, team-first mentality.”
Lawyers for the former midfielder claim he was pushed into signing a document that allowed Brisbane to pay him just $88,043 of his $294,500 playing contract for 2022.
Ellis-Yolmen alleges that he signed the letter “under duress” after receiving a strongly-worded legal letter from AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon.
Through legal counsel he has advised the Lions that he wants immediate payment of the outstanding $206,457 he says he is owed for the 2022 season, or he will sue.
Ellis-Yolmen told the league his “genuine concerns about the effects of the vaccines” was “borne out of a previous adverse reaction to the influenza vaccine administered by his old club” – the Adelaide Crows.
He had a history of “serious bronchial issues in childhood”, felt a deep “distrust” of the Australian government and medical institutions because of his indigenous background, and was not provided with counselling by the Lions in relation to his concerns about the covid vaccination, his lawyer, Greg Griffin, alleges.