NFL says coronavirus outbreaks among unvaccinated players could lead to forfeitures this season

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The new rule makes being unvaccinated this year a competitive disadvantage, all part of the league’s drive to have players and staff vaccinated before the upcoming season. The NFL has also said any team that vaccinates 85% of its players and staff can relax their safety protocols and has applied looser rules to vaccinated players.

“If a match cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week schedule and is canceled due to a Covid outbreak among unvaccinated players from one of the participating teams, the outbreak will result in the club losing the match and being deemed to have played. 16 games for draft, waiver priority, etc. In view of the playoff placement, the team forfeited will get a loss and the opposing team a win,” reads the NFL memo dated Thursday. sent.

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In addition, if a match is postponed and cannot be rescheduled, players from both teams will not receive their scheduled salary. The memo also states that the team with the outbreak is responsible for any additional costs incurred by the other team.

Other sports leagues have taken a similar approach to encourage vaccinations. In college football, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey warned on Monday that games will not be postponed due to coronavirus concerns, ESPN reported:.

Last season, the NFL postponed a series of games due to multiple Covid-19 outbreaks within teams. The NFL ended up holding every scheduled regular season and playoff game, but the preseason and Pro Bowl were canceled.

Pro-athletes and leagues sometimes disagree about vaccines, just like the rest of America

The NFL’s four-page memo is divided into sections on medical principles, competition principles, and financial principles. The competitive section says the league does not expect to add an extra week to the season to play matches that have been rescheduled.

The memo also distinguishes between outbreaks among unvaccinated and vaccinated people and indicates that an outbreak among unvaccinated people will be judged less favorably.

“If a match is cancelled/postponed because a club is unable to play due to a Covid spike among or due to unvaccinated players/staff, the burden of the cancellation or delay will fall on the club experiencing the Covid infection. We will try to minimize the burden on the other club or clubs. If a club cannot play due to a Covid peak in vaccinated individuals, we will try to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams.

With teams starting to sign up for training camp, the NFL saw an increase in Covid-19 vaccination rates around the league this week, with 14 of the 32 NFL teams reaching the more than 85% threshold, the league said. to CNN.

The NFL also reported that 78% of players in the league have received at least one vaccine, up more than 4 percent from last week.

All teams in the league are now above the 50% vaccination threshold, the league said, after two teams were vaccinated last week with less than 50% of their players.

However, there are some remarkable holdouts; Buffalo Bills recipient Cole Beasley said in a series of tweets in May that he would rather retire than get vaccinated.

David Close of CNN contributed to this report.

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