Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champion Michael Irvin says that players who refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine must believe there are more important things than winning.
The NFL does not mandate that all players and staff receive the coronavirus vaccine. However, the league has stipulated that teams who vaccinate 85 percent of their players will not have restrictions on meetings between players and coaches. Teams with fewer than 85 percent of their rosters vaccinated – such as Irvin’s former team, the Cowboys – will have greater restrictions and will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
That dynamic has convinced Irvin that teams who don’t meet the 85 percent threshold must not care that much about winning.
“Dude, you’re not thinking right. You’re not thinking right. Whatever you got, I don’t give a damn,” Irvin said at a recent meeting of the Dallas chapter of Merging Vets & Players via ESPN’s Todd Archer. “Nothing else can be more important. You’re not going to get this [winning a Super Bowl] easily. Nothing else could be more important. … Jimmy [Johnson] made that abundantly clear [during Irvin’s playing career]. Nothing else is more important. And not being one of the [85 percent vaccinated teams] says there are other things to a great number of people on this team that are more important than winning championships, and that makes me worried.”
Irvin stressed that if he were still playing, he’d make it his business to ensure his teammates got vaccinated.
“If you’re not one of them teams [at the threshold], are you really thinking about winning a championship? You see what I’m saying,” Irvin said. “OK, so now if you’re not getting vaccinated and you got all these other teams that are getting vaccinated . . . Somebody in that damn locker room [should say], ‘Hey man, we’re going to have a chance, are you vaccinated?’” Irvin said. “Let’s go through this because this could be a two-week healthy dude missing games, and in this league, this ain’t the NBA. In this league that could be it for you. The right person misses two weeks, that’s it. Your ass is out.”
Most teams have well over 50 percent of their rosters vaccinated. In contrast, only Washington and Indianapolis remain below 50 percent.