NFL Plans To Punish Unvaccinated Players With New Forfeit Rule
For players in the National Football League who still haven't gotten vaccinated yet, this may be their strongest incentive so far to get the vaccine.
The Associated Press is reporting that Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all NFL teams that basically says if a football game cannot be rescheduled and is canceled due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among players that are not vaccinated, that team will have to forfeit and be credited with a loss.
Also, players for both teams wouldn't get paid that week. Think about the ramifications that could entail. If a team is forced to forfeit, that could mean a loss in playoff seeding. Commissioner Goodell had this to say in the memo:
As we learned last year we can play a full season if we maintain a firm commitment to adhering to our health and safety protocols and to making needed adjustments in response to changing conditions.
The memo went on to say the league intends to play all of its games within the 18-week schedule and that a 19th week will not, under any circumstances, be added to the schedule.
Bottom line, this new rule makes being unvaccinated a competitive disadvantage for the upcoming football season. However, according to the NFL, any team that vaccinates 85% of their players and staff can relax safety protocols.
For the record, the league says more than half the teams have vaccination rates for players over 80%. The memo also states that vaccinated players who test positive can return to the team immediately after two negative tests, while unvaccinated players will be required to isolate for 10 days.
It could be an interesting season coming up. We'll have to wait and see. For more on the story including a deeper look at the league-wide memo, check out AP's website here.