COVID-19 vaccination percentages have been the most talked-about statistic in the NFL.
As the first week of training camp begins, the number of participants continues to rise, while the argument rages on.
So far, 88.5 % of players have received at least one vaccination injection, and 20 teams have vaccinated more than 90% of their players, including eight teams that have vaccinated more than 95 % of their players.
The league can’t make players receive the vaccination, but it has made its opinion plain by enforcing rigorous standards for those who don’t.
“Without the procedures, they’re putting on us, I wouldn’t have gotten the vaccine,” Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said this week. “Everyone’s decision is their own. Every individual must make the best option possible for themselves and their families. In this building, we have a similar attitude, but they are attempting to push your hand…
To avoid the vaccination, some athletes are ready to put up with daily testing, wearing masks, physical separation, and other limitations. They won’t be able to have meals with their colleagues; they won’t be able to engage in media or marketing activities while on the road; they won’t be able to use the sauna or steam room, and they won’t be able to leave the team hotel or mingle with individuals who aren’t on the team.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills has spoken out against the vaccination, even debating it with teammates on social media.
“I’m neither anti- nor pro-vaccine. Beasley stated, “I’m pro-choice.” “With that said, the problem at hand is withholding information from players in order for a player to be influenced in a route with which he may not be comfortable. When it comes to a player’s health and safety, total transparency about information that is critical in the decision-making process is essential.”
Beasley published a new rap song shortly after speaking with reporters, in which he declares that there “ain’t no vaccine” for him.
Teams must use coloured wristbands or credentials to identify unvaccinated players, and the league recommends using coloured wristbands or credentials.
JC Tretter, President of the NFL Players Association, slammed the practice.
“What it really boils down to is the NFL wants to put a policy in place to attempt to humiliate unvaccinated athletes publicly about their status and make it known to everyone on the field, and that shouldn’t be the case because it’s unnecessary,” said Tretter, a Cleveland Browns centre. “We all know who’s been vaccinated and who hasn’t, and there’s no need for a crimson mark on people’s helmets or wrists.”
Although the Browns do not wear coloured wristbands, their vaccination status is displayed on their credentials.
Coach Kevin Stefanski stated, “We are not splitting the squad on this issue.”
The wristband policy, according to the NFL, is intended to enable the club or league to more readily detect whether a player who has not been vaccinated was not wearing a mask.
In an email to its members, the union said:
“This year, the only change is the NFL’s determination to inflict further sanctions on clubs that are guilty of the outbreak, as well as the availability of proven vaccinations. The protocols we decided on together enabled us to go through a whole season without missing game inspections last year, and they are effective when followed.”
Teams that have a COVID-19 epidemic among unvaccinated players may be forced to forfeit regular-season games, with both teams’ players receiving no compensation. Last year, similar regulations were in place when the league played all of its games and finished the season on time, with little to no mention of forfeits.
The Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins were the last two teams to achieve immunisation rates of more than 50%. Despite being vaccinated, Frank Reich, the Colts head coach, tested positive with COVID-19.
“I don’t want this to be a negative in terms of people not getting vaccinated,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. “It’s still essential, and I think Frank testing positive and receiving COVID and having no symptoms shows it works.” “I mean, that’s one of the advantages. The variation is unknown at this time. The variant’s findings are still pending. It’ll be fascinating to watch how it turns out. But it demonstrates that it works, and it’s a pity that we’ve politicised something that is beneficial and will benefit the entire country in our country right now. But that’s where we’re at, and all we can do now is keep moving forward.”
Coach Ron Rivera, who himself immune weak after having cancer treatment last year, has been frustrated and outraged by the Washington players’ refusal to be vaccinated, to the point where he wears a mask despite being fully inoculated against the virus.
“I’m really irritated. He stated during his camp’s inaugural press conference this week, “I’m beyond irritated.” “It is everyone’s option, everyone’s decision,” she says, “but all you can hope for is that they all come in line and understand what’s at stake and that they realise we aren’t there yet.”
Vaccinated athletes must be tested every 14 days, rather than daily, as per the league’s regulations. That makes some people feel nervous.
“In my opinion, (testing) once every 14 days is insufficient,” Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, before mentioning the nation’s growing positive test rates. “We have to look after our guys,” says the captain. That might have been OK two weeks ago, but circumstances have changed, and we must adjust. People complain about having to put on masks again, but that’s because things have changed. They’re simply reacting to the situation, and we’re doing the same.”
Players who refuse to take part in testing or wear a tracking device will be fined $50,000 and $14,650, respectively. Unvaccinated athletes may be fined $14,650 if they don’t follow policy, which includes not going to clubs, concerts, or athletic events.
New York Giants coach Joe Judge stated, “Reality is, it’s a lot simpler to go out and live life as a professional athlete if you’re vaccinated.” “If you aren’t vaccinated, you must follow all of the regulations that come with it, and it is our responsibility as a team to enforce them and educate our players along the way.”