As the NFL pushes for the COVID-19 vaccine, why would players want to go through the 2020 restrictions again?


Any 3-year-old can identify with the NFL’s plan to encourage every player, coach and staff to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s the equivalent of throwing toys at a toddler, like the league is saying, “No, we’re not going to get you vaccinated, but if you do, you can have all these great toys.” it sounds good?

“So clean your room, eat your veg, and you can have it all.”

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Really, there is no excuse not to get the shot now that every NFL team is entering their six week break until training camp begins. The Eagles started their summer vacation two weeks ago, giving them even more time to get both injections and get over the side effects, which for many people last 24 hours after receiving the second injection.

Of course, it’s a personal decision, and the NFL doesn’t force anyone to do it.

But keep in mind that 600,000 people have died in the United States from COVID-19 in the past 17 months. Of course, the chances of athletes dying from the coronavirus are low considering their age, physical condition, etc.

They might, however, pass it on to a trainer or a friend or family member who might not be so lucky. The vaccine, on the other hand, is at least 90% effective.

For this reason, the NFL on Wednesday listed a set of guidelines for vaccinated players and another for unvaccinated players starting from training camp in late July.

Basically, unvaccinated players must follow the same protocols as last season – daily testing, mandatory masks at all times, social distancing, no cafeteria meals, no marketing, sponsorship, or media opportunities.

They also cannot leave the team hotel when traveling for a road game, nor can they interact with anyone outside of the team travel party.

They can also cost their team games dearly by having to sit down if they are positive for the coronavirus or if they are exposed to someone who has it.

We all know how much fun it was for the players last season.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz mentioned that the day after the season ended, when asked to stay on the sidelines with center Jason Kelce and quarterback Carson Wentz long after the end of the season. match, just talking for almost an hour.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass as quarterback PJ Walker (6) watches during NFL football practice in Charlotte, NC on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

“I think the thing that we missed the most this year with all the protocols and everything was just being able to interact with all the guys in a consistent way,” Ertz said at the time. “I really wish I could have gotten to know the youngsters better, the rookies better, the free agents that we recruited.

“But just the protocols, we couldn’t really do that. The hardest part of (the 2020 season) was probably not being able to sit around the cafeteria and just BS with the guys. is probably the thing that I missed the most. “

Why would anyone want to relive this?

And yet, Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold recently admitted he didn’t get the vaccine. Other quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins ​​of the Vikings, Zach Wilson of the Jets and Lamar Jackson of the Ravens gave the “personal decision” answer.

They are quarterbacks, the supposed leaders of their teams. So it’s easy to see why, as Tom Pelissaro of the NFL Network reported, only 16 of the 32 teams had at least 51 players vaccinated (the roster is at 90 before training camp in late July). That’s at least 57% of the players on each of these teams.

It is not known if the Eagles are among those teams.

It is therefore likely that less than 50% of the 2,880 NFL players are vaccinated. This makes the NFL a microcosm of society as a whole. According to government data, 43% of Americans are fully immunized and 52% have received at least one injection.

There is one major difference: the general public is not required to show proof of vaccination to resume normal daily activities. It’s also safe to assume that many of those who oppose vaccines go on with normal activities anyway, and don’t wear masks, or social distancing, etc.

But the NFL, like other employers, is allowed to require proof of vaccination. And soon it will be easy to tell who got the vaccine and who didn’t. Thus, this “personal decision” response will not matter when the training camps open.

Here’s what vaccinated players can do: Everything unvaccinated players can’t do.

They do not have to wear masks in the establishment. They can use the weight room, workout room, hot / cold baths whenever they want, regardless of social distancing guidelines. They can go out for dinner when the team is on the road, or see their family or friends when they are on the road.

In other words, a normal life.

And that may have ramifications this summer for places on the list. If there is a decision to be made between two equal players – one vaccinated, the other unvaccinated – it is easy to see the place of the roster returning to the vaccinated player under the guise of footballing reasons.

So while the players are on summer vacation, there is plenty of time for them to have a pre-pandemic NFL life when they return for training camp.

For the Eagles, that means they can play unlimited games of rock, paper and scissors with head coach Nick Sirianni, or take part in 3-point shooting contests, or try to knock down kicker Jake. Elliott at table tennis.

Many players have already taken advantage of this opportunity. Kelce, for his part, did so in early March when he announced he was returning to the Eagles after restructuring his contract:

“Dude, the first week of March 2021 is one for the record books !!! I have to welcome baby # 2 Elliotte Ray Kelce into the world, I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine … and I restructured my contract to make sure I continue to be the center for the Philadelphia Eagles … “

It’s not a bad start on the way back to normal.

Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

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