Australia has gone off the deep end when it comes to Novak Djokovic.
Alex Hawke, the Australian Minister for Immigration, announced on Friday that he has canceled Djokovic’s visa. Hawke cited 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Djokovic “on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”
Alex Hawke, the Australian Minister for Immigration, has cancelled Novak Djokovic's Australian visa "on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so."
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 14, 2022
Djokovic, who has not received a COVID-19 shot, applied for a medical exemption from the Australian Open. His exemption request, which was reviewed in a blind manner by a panel, was approved. He received clearance from the Australian Open and the Victorian state government in Australia to travel to the country for the Australian Open. It later was revealed that Djokovic’s exemption was granted because he had COVID in December.
However, there was one big problem.
After Djokovic announced his good Australian Open news, there was great public outrage in Australia after a well-known athletic figure who did not have the COVID vaccine, was granted permission to play in the tennis tournament.
Australia has been living under some of the harshest government-mandated COVID restrictions. The government knew that allowing a notoriously unvaccinated player to enter the country would undermine their authority and credibility, so their border forces stopped Djokovic.
His visa was canceled and he was detained for days until his appeal hearing was heard. Djokovic won the appeal, but there was still one last trump card the Australian government could play: having Hawke step in.
Hawke has done so, and now Djokovic’s legal team will appeal once again. They are hoping to have a judge grant a temporary restraining order. Djokovic would also need to have his visa reinstated in order to play in the Australian Open.
Hawke’s ruling could result in a punishment where Djokovic would be banned from entering Australia for three years.
Djokovic is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most majors ever with 20. The Australian Open, which he has won nine times, is by far his best major. Such a ban would take away his best tournament, and would also open up the door to one of his competitors to win.
Factoring into Hawke’s decision were a few missteps by Djokovic. The Australian government apparently found a few inconsistencies from Djokovic about whether he tested positive for COVID on Dec. 16 or 17. They were concerned that he checked a box saying he hadn’t traveled for 14 days prior to entering the country, even though he had. They were also concerned that he conducted an interview/photoshoot with a magazine on Dec. 18 despite having COVID.
Australia’s entire process has been cumbersome, time-consuming, and embarrassing to the country. They’ve dealt with this in a completely sloppy manner and have shown that the left hand doesn’t know what the heck the right hand is doing. They’ve canceled Djokovic’s visa twice but he already won one appeal. The federal government stepped in to cancel him after a state government approved him.
The possible 3-year ban from the country is beyond excessive and extremely punitive.
Don’t let wrong boxes being checked confuse you. Australia’s government is taking this stance for one reason and one reason only: they are trying to prove a point to their citizens about people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic is 34, the best tennis player in the world, and arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. He follows an extremely strict diet and training regimen. He doesn’t eat gluten, he prefers to heal without surgeries or medications.
Djokovic’s methods are unconventional and unorthodox. But so is Tom Brady’s “TB12” program. And guess what these two guys have in common? Their methods and beliefs have helped build them into the best players their sports have ever seen.
Djokovic has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he knows what’s best for his body. He has built himself into the best tennis player ever by following what he believes is best. If he doesn’t feel the COVID-19 vaccine is right for him, he shouldn’t have to get the shot in order to compete in a tennis tournament, especially when you factor in his natural immunity. He has also already had two strains of COVID and recovered both times. Australia not letting him compete in the tournament a month after he has recovered from COVID is anti-science and opposes everything we know about natural immunity.
Either Australia is full of grandstanding political bullies who targeted Djokovic to make a point; or they think he is lying about having COVID in December; or they are the only people who don’t believe natural immunity prevents one from being a health risk a month later.
Whether it’s reason 1, 2, 3, or a combination of all three, Australia looks terrible for the way they’re handling the situation and singling out Djokovic.
Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The post Australia loses its mind, cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa again appeared first on Larry Brown Sports.
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