The NFL says 93% of players are vaccinated against COVID-19 and the league wanted mandatory immunization but the NFLPA disagreed.
The league has also asked the players’ union to adjust protocols so that vaccinated athletes are tested weekly instead of every 14 days. Non-immunized players are tested daily.
NFLPA president JC Tretter, center of the Cleveland Browns, said earlier this week that the decision not to make vaccination mandatory was made by the league. But league officials disagreed with that claim.
“We’ve been discussing mandatory immunization from the beginning,” NFL Deputy General Counsel Larry Ferazani said Thursday. “In fact, we took the initiative and demanded that the staff as well as the coaches be vaccinated in order to have access to a player. From that point on, we started to emphasize what the (NFLPA) experts also recognize as the best way to protect players and staff, which is to reach a 100% vaccination level. That is what we asked for, and we would like that mandate to come into effect tomorrow ”.
NFL officials also do not have a vaccination mandate.
The league reported 68 positive cases out of 7,190 individuals tested between Aug. 1 and Aug. 21. The incidence rate of 0.95% is lower than in most communities.
Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said nearly all of the cases have been of the Delta variant. He indicated that vaccinated individuals have had a very mild and shorter upper respiratory illness. Sills also noted that none of the players who tested positive required hospitalization.
Regarding daily tests, Sills said that “tests are not prevention.”
“It is a part of our mitigation strategy, but it is not the key part,” he said. “It is not the tests alone that will allow us to overcome this wave.”
The NFL said 120 players have received warning letters with 25 players fined for violations for not wearing masks or other safety protocols.
Under league rules, the first offense for violating protocols will result in a $ 14,650 fine. Repeated offenses could lead to the suspension of the player or a penalty of one week’s salary.