COVID-19 vaccination rates are the most talked about stat in NFL.
The first week of training camp has begun and the numbers are increasing, but there is still much to be debated.
Up to this point, 88.5% have received at least one shot of vaccine, and 20 teams have over 90% of their players vaccinated. Eighteen of these eight teams have more that 95%.
Although the league cannot mandate the vaccine, it has established strict protocols to ensure that players who aren’t eligible for it receive it.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans quarterback, said this week that he wouldn’t have received the vaccine if they didn’t enforce certain protocols on him. It’s an individual decision for each person. Everyone must make the best decisions for themselves and their families. This is the mindset of this building. But they want to force you to make the best decision for your family. …
“I love football, I love the team. I want to be able compete and do the things necessary to build chemistry and win games. That forced me to get the vaccine.
Some players will be willing to undergo daily testing, wear masks, and have to adhere to more restrictions in order to avoid the vaccine. They will not be allowed to share meals with their teammates, can’t take part in media or marketing activities while on the road, and they won’t have access to the sauna or steam rooms.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has strongly argued against the vaccine, even engaging in public debate with teammates about it on social media.
“I’m neither pro-vax nor anti-vax. Beasley stated that he was pro-choice. “The issue is that players are being swayed by information withheld in order to gain access to information they don’t like. It is important to be transparent when dealing with player safety and health.
Soon after Beasley spoke with reporters, he released a new song in which he claims that there is no “vaccination” for him.
Unvaccinated players must be identified visually by teams. The league recommends the use of wristbands or credentials in colors.
JC Tretter, President of the NFLPA, harshly criticized this practice.
“So the bottom line is that the NFL wanted to create a policy to publicly shame unvaccinated athletes about their status and make it known to everyone on the field. That shouldn’t have been the case because that’s unnecessary,” Tretter, a center for Cleveland Browns, stated. We all know who is vaccinated and who isn’t, so there doesn’t have to be scarlet markings on helmets or wrists.
While the Browns don’t wear colored wristbands, their vaccine status is clearly visible on their credentials.
Coach Kevin Stefanski stated, “We are not splitting the team over this matter.”
The NFL explained that the wristband policy was designed to make it easier for the league or club to identify players who are not vaccinated.
In an email to its members the union stated:
The NFL has imposed additional penalties on clubs that are involved in the outbreak. They also made it clear that they will not be able to provide vaccines. We were able to complete the entire season without missing any game checks thanks to the protocols we agreed on. They are also very effective when they are followed.
Unvaccinated players may cause a COVID-19 epidemic in a team. This could result in both sides forfeiting regular-season games and players not being paid. Similar rules were in effect last year, when the league played all of its games on time and finished its season without any talk of forfeits.
Washington and the Indianapolis Colts were the two last teams to exceed 50% vaccination rates. Frank Reich, the Colts’ coach, tested positive for COVID-19 even though he was vaccinated.
“I don’t want this to become a negative in terms people running away from getting vaccined because it’s still crucial and I think Frank testing positive for COVID and having no symptoms, it proves it works,” Chris Ballard, Colts general manager, said. “It’s one of the positives. The variant is not yet known. We await results. It will be fascinating to see the results. It works, and it’s a shame that we have politicized something good that will benefit the whole country. It’s where we are now and we need to keep moving forward.
Washington’s players have been reluctant to get vaccinated. This has upset and annoyed Ron Rivera, who has become immune deficient since undergoing treatment for cancer last year. He now wears a mask despite being fully inoculated.
“I am truly frustrated. “I’m beyond frustrated,” he stated at this week’s camp-opening news conference. “It’s everyone’s choice, everyone’s decision. But you hope they all understand the stakes and come to an agreement.
According to league protocols, players who have been vaccinated must be tested every 14-days instead of daily. This can cause some anxiety.
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks coach, stated that “Personally, I believe the (testing), once every 14 days” is insufficient. He was referring to rising positive test results across the country. We have to take care of our boys. This would have been fine two months ago. But things have changed and we need to respond. People complain about the need to return to masks, but it’s because they have changed. They’re just reacting to what’s happening and we are doing it the same way.”
Refusing to test or wearing a tracker monitor could result in fines up to $50,000 and $14650, respectively. For violating protocol, players who are not vaccinated will be subject to a $14,650 fine.
Joe Judge, New York Giants coach, stated that it is easier to live your life as a professional athlete if you are vaccinated. “If you are not vaccinated, all you have to do is follow the protocol. It’s our job to educate and enforce the protocols and to make sure that everyone is vaccinated.”