Summary List Placement
NFL players who don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine could lose some of their privileges as professional athletes, including the ability to participate in marketing activities.
The league announced a list of restrictions for unvaccinated players on Wednesday. It will essentially create a second-class lifestyle for those who choose not to get the vaccine, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Unvaccinated players will be forbidden from marketing opportunities, the freedom to go to nightclubs and house parties, and even the option to fly on their team’s charter plane with vaccinated teammates.
The guidelines state “no social/media/marketing/sponsorship activities permitted” for unvaccinated players, while vaccinated players will see no restrictions on those opportunities.
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021 training camp and preseason, per source.
How different will life by for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? From the memo that just went to clubs: pic.twitter.com/8yMPW0JBWZ
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 16, 2021
Additionally, unvaccinated players will have to continue using a lot of the same social distancing mandates required by players throughout all of the 2020 season. They will have to wear facemasks at all times, maintain physical distancing from teammates during meals and meetings, and undergo daily testing.
Players who violate the rules will be subject to a $50,000 fine on a first offense, and punishments will escalate from there.
These policies were agreed upon by the NFL and NFLPA.
Several NFL players have publicly said they won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Washington Football Team defensive end Montez Sweat said he wouldn’t get vaccinated until he has more facts about the product after head coach Ron Rivera brought in a vaccine expert to talk to the Washington players on June 9.
“I’m not a fan of it at all … I won’t get vaccinated until I get more facts,” Sweat said. “I haven’t caught covid yet, so I don’t see me treating covid until I actually get covid.”
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold hasn’t got the vaccine yet, either.
“A lot of smart people came up with those restrictions, and obviously they’re there for a reason,” Darnold said. “But in terms of my decision not to get vaccinated, I’m just going to keep that to myself. For me, it’s a personal decision that I’m going make between me and close people around me.”
The NFLPA doesn’t have exact numbers of unvaccinated players, but they aren’t at the desired 85% threshold. The player vaccination rate has lagged behind the league’s tier-1 staff so far this season, according to The Washington Post.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith reminded in a recent Zoom session that the players aren’t any different than the rest of the United States. According to government data, 43.3% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 52% have gotten at least one shot.
“We’re a microcosm of our country,” Smith said.