The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the entire globe, halting life as we once knew it. From canceled or postponed sporting events to basically living our lives in a “Bubble” setting all around the world. There have been lockdowns and mask mandates galore.
Last season, the NFL played out with no fan interaction until the playoffs and even that was very limited. Games were also postponed numerous times due to outbreaks on several teams.
We saw games being played on Tuesday and Wednesday after teams had multiple players test positive for the virus. Yes, it was an unprecedented time and the league did its best to deal with the effects of the pandemic. Leading into this 2021 season, the NFL is currently still trying to adjust to the pandemic’s lingering effects.
With NFL Training Camps beginning to open on Thursday, the league informed teams that games that are unable to be rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak will now count as a forfeit, loss of a game check, and other potential penalties. This comes directly from Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office. The league says it’s meant to be an incentive to get players and staff vaccinated, but it is not sitting well with players who are against the vaccine.
Most notably, Cardinals superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins took to social media to show his disdain for the newly implemented rules. DHop even went as far as to question if he even wants to continue to play in the NFL because he’s totally against getting vaccinated.
Although both tweets were deleted, Hopkins followed those up with another stating his feelings about it.
“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.”
Only 14 of the 32 NFL teams have reached the 85% vaccination threshold that would allow teams to loosen restrictions. Yet, many players are still hesitant to get the vaccine despite it being clinically proven safe and effective.
But Hopkins isn’t the only one feeling this way around the league.
Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon also tweeted his displeasure with some pretty coarse language. Bucs running back Leonard Fournette was also among those expressing vaccine hesitation.
On the other side of the spectrum is NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, who’s called out players for not being vaccinated and resisting the vaccine. In typical good ole’ boy network fashion, he’s even called out players’ desire to win if they choose not to receive the shot.
This is far from over, as these players are adamant about their stance, but so is the NFL.