The NFL’s threat to punish teams if they have Covid outbreaks among unvaccinated players has prompted at least one NFL star to ponder retirement.
On Thursday, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams informing them of the potential penalties if a team had a Covid outbreak among unvaccinated players and the league was unable to reschedule the game during the season. The penalties included forfeiture of a game, a one-game paycheck fine for both teams, and financial penalties for the team that caused the cancellation.
Here’s the full memo the NFL sent to teams today on COVID-19 protocols, and punishments for outbreaks among unvaccinated personnel. pic.twitter.com/0vFw197022
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 22, 2021
Arizona wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins responded to the edict by tweeting, then deleting, a post saying the NFL’s new regulations had forced him to “question his future in the NFL.”
“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,” Hopkins wrote.
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The NFL has not made coronavirus vaccination mandatory. However, Thursday’s announcement shows clear that the league is willing to do everything and anything up until the point of making vaccination mandatory.
Most teams have well over 50 percent of their rosters vaccinated. In contrast, only Washington and Indianapolis remain below 50 percent.
In addition, the league has set forth numerous restrictions on player-coach interaction for teams with less than 85 percent of their players and staff vaccinated.