NFL and players spar after League is reportedly shaming them to get vaccinated
The NFL and the NFLPA, the National Football League Players Association, are at odds after the NFL is starting to “shame unvaccinated players publicly.”
Players in the NFL are not required to take the COVID vaccine as of now however they are strongly pushing it on the players. Last week, the NFL announced that there would be consequences against unvaccinated players if an outbreak were to take place including a forfeit for the whole team.
Now, multiple players including NFL stars like DeAndre Hopkins, Leonard Fournette and even NFLPA president and Cleveland Browns starting center JC Tretter, are taking a stand against the NFL and their vaccine wristband policy.
“It’s just kind of a nonsensical idea,” Tretter said Thursday of the punishments for vaccinated players. “They say they need a differentiator between unvaccinated and vaccinated players. We already have a differentiator. The unvaccinated players need to wear masks. No other sports leagues use any sort of scarlet marking or helmet decal or wristband because they know it’s not necessary and the teams know who’s vaccinated and not vaccinated.”
“The league does mandate that teams must have some sort of system for identifying vaccinated and unvaccinated players since the rules for each group vary significantly in terms of physical distancing in the weight room and the use of showers and cold tubs, as well as entering the facility.”
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that the NFL and their players were at odds with the vaccine wristbands.
“The NFL and the NFLPA are also at odds over the use of wristbands to identity unvaccinated players, per sources,” Schefter explained. “The NFL is allowing clubs to to make players wear bright colored wristbands, which the NFLPA believes is unnecessary. Talks to continue.”
Tretter is not having it considering he is blasting the NFL for trying to “shame” players into taking the vaccine.
“So what it really comes down to is the NFL wanted to put a policy in place to try to shame unvaccinated players publicly about their status and make that known to everybody on the field, and that shouldn’t be the case because it’s unnecessary,” Tretter said. “We all know who’s vaccinated, who’s not and it doesn’t need to be a scarlet marking on peoples’ helmets or wrists.”
The Browns seem to be on Tretter’s side as they are are not requiring the vaccine wristband.
“The Browns don’t need it,” Tretter said. “Again, we all know who is and who isn’t [vaccinated], so it’s not really needed. And I don’t know why some teams are doing it, and I think players should ask their teams why they’re doing it because, again, I think it’s unnecessary.”
“We’re not dividing the team over this issue,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said.
While players are not mandated to receive the vaccine, the protocols put in place for unvaccinated players are severe.
For players who have been fully vaccinated, nearly all restrictions have been relaxed. Masks and daily testing will no longer be required, travel restrictions have been lifted, they will be allowed to eat in the cafeteria with other vaccinated individuals, and no restrictions will be placed on social/media/marketing/sponsorship opportunities, among other things.
For players who have not received the vaccine or are yet to be fully vaccinated, life in the NFL will be different.
COVID-19 testing will be required every day, masks must be worn when at the team facilities and while traveling, they may not use the sauna/steam room, and leaving the team hotel to eat at restaurants is prohibited.