'Why would you risk your children like this?'
Phil Gould has slammed the NRL players who have not accepted a flu jab for promoting dangerous views amid a global health crisis.
Approximately 20 rugby league players have refused a flu shot ahead of the competition's resumption, and the Queensland Government announced those who do not take the jab would not be permitted to train or play in the Sunshine State. As a result, Gold Coast Titans players Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly were stood down on Friday.
Cartwright and Kelly have been given until Thursday to decide whether or not they will accept a flu jab and avoid being stood down for the season.
Gould blasted the selfishness of athletes who rejected the flu shot and touted unsubstantiated views as the NRL desperately attempts to restart the competition.
"I've gone back several times and tried to research the philosophy behind (the anti-vax movement) … I can find absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing that makes any sense whatsoever," Gould said on his Six Tackles With Gus podcast.
"Yet I can find any number of research papers and evidence from experts telling us the danger of (not vaccinating).
"When adults talk about anti-vaxxing, my eyes kind of glaze over. I think if that's the way you want to be, then that's the way you want to be.
"That's the fear when we speak about the people who are talking this rubbish. And it is rubbish.
"None of it makes sense, absolutely none of it makes sense whatsoever."
The 61-year-old also voiced his concern for the children of parents who choose not to vaccinate.
"I think what we fear for is their children. Why would you risk your children like this? It's not the fear of the adult who doesn't want to get a vaccination, and who wants to talk about this theory," Gould said.
"What we fear is what could happen to their child if they get a serious disease that could have easily been avoided.
"You can't understand parents putting their own children in a position whatsoever where there is a risk they could get a serious disease."
Amid the flu jab saga, several wives and girlfriends - most notably Cartwright's wife - have promoted anti-vax beliefs on social media.
Shanelle Cartwright has shared several Instagram posts from Taylor Winterstein - wife of former NRL star Frank Winterstein - comparing the plight of anti-vaccination advocates to Jews during the Holocaust.
On Friday evening, Shanelle posted an image of Holocaust victim Anne Frank with the caption: "The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law, the people who killed her were following it."
Despite some backlash, Cartwright didn't back down on her assertion, sharing more Holocaust posts on Tuesday.
One Instagram post said: "Remember, it didn't start with gas chambers. It started with politicians diving the people with 'us vs them'. It started with intolerance and hate speech and when people stopped caring, became desensitised and turned a blind eye."
Another read: "Every genocide starts with hate. I pray to God we don't end up in a horrific place like that. Please recognise though, we are being divided and conditioned to hate and perceive others in a way similar to how their foundation was laid."
Gould berated the NRL WAGs for treating the flu jab saga like a "soapbox" by flaunting their harmful beliefs.
"It's now a platform to keep getting this anti-vax message out there, it's become a bit of a soapbox for them," Gould said.
"Talking to them is like talking to a brick wall. You are not going to change them, you are not going to change their opinion, you're not going to change their mentality.
"Those that started this movement have been discredited a hundred times over. I can't see any sense in it whatsoever."
Originally published as 'It is rubbish': Gould slams anti-vaxxers