Kyle’s update, 4:10 p.m.: Fred Warner just met with the media on a Zoom call, where he shared that he’s vaccinated. Some of the players in the NFC West have been outspoken today about COVID, and let’s just say their takes haven’t been the most informed.
Warner went as far as to say that he wants to be someone his teammates can talk to when it comes to making the decision to become vaccinated, which could be a difficult conversation for some but that’s why you have leaders like Warner around.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the league informed teams that if a game can’t be rescheduled during the 18-week season in 2021 due to a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and be credited with a loss for playoff seeding.
The NFL just informed clubs that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week season in 2021 due to a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will FORFEIT and be credited with a loss for playoff seeding, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 22, 2021
This feels like the NFL is making one final push to get vaccinated before the season starts. Fourteen teams have at least 85% of their team vaccinated, with every club over 50%, per Pelissero.
The initial reaction from a few prominent players hasn’t been what you thought it’d be, but it makes for an interesting discussion:
Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @Nfl— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) July 22, 2021
I know 2 people right now who got the vaccine but are covid positive.. ♂️ I’m just saying. I wouldn’t look at a teammate as bad if he don’t get the vax, no pressure from 5️⃣ https://t.co/OGTbKJ1A6Z— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) July 22, 2021
Ramsey is saying he won’t put the pressure on his teammates to get vaccinated if they make the personal decision not to. It seems like it’s as simple as “just getting the shot,” but there are always layers to these types of decisions.
With training camp starting next week, I’m curious to see if the narrative changes if there are any potential outbreaks. But, of course, it’s easy to say this in July.
How will teams handle this when it comes down to making cuts? For example, if Player A and Player B are neck and neck, does the team take the player that’s vaccinated to avoid a potential outbreak, which could cost them a loss?
This is the closest thing to a mandate that isn’t an actual mandate. The FDA could approve COVID vaccines before the season. If that happens, the players won’t have a leg to stand on.