Players who choose not to be vaccinated have rights, but those rights will be hard to enforce

Vaccinations Continue In Chorweiler District Of Cologne
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The fact that the NFL and NFL Players Association have not agreed to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory means that (Captain Obvious alert) they’re not mandatory. This also means that players who choose not to be vaccinated should face no adverse employment action because of it.

That’s easy to say. It’s a lot harder to enforce.

The fact that Bills G.M. Brandon Beane said the quiet part out loud — that he would cut a non-vaccinated player over a vaccinated player because there are advantages to having more vaccinated players — underscores how delicate the issue will be. If Beane had said nothing publicly, opting instead to keep his plan to himself before acting on it, what would have happened? Some players may have groused about the possibility that the vaccination status was a factor in their release. It would still be very difficult to prove, absent a smoking gun like, for example, the G.M. saying the quiet part out loud.

The challenge for the league and the union will be to ensure that coaches, General Managers, and/or coaches won’t act against players who choose not to be vaccinated, and to want to protect them. Those players have the same right to not be vaccinated as players have to not stand during the national anthem. By rule, it’s a choice they can make. Their job status should not be affected by it, in any way.

The problem is that the teams will know which players have and haven’t been vaccinated. They’ll know because vaccinated players aren’t required to be tested daily. Also, vaccinated players can be in the facility the day after a game.

Other protocols that could create a tangible benefit to cut unvaccinated players likely are coming. If/when the league relaxes the rules applicable for an entire team based on the percentage of vaccinated players on the team, then the thing Beane said more likely becomes the thing teams do.

So how will the league and the union protect the players who choose to not be vaccinated? And how will anyone know that the league and the union are motivated to do so? While many (including me) believe that everyone should be vaccinated, the league and the union have agreed to not make vaccinations mandatory. That agreement is meaningless without a strategy for protecting the players who choose not to be vaccinated, especially if teams get greater overall freedom if a certain percentage of the locker room has gotten the shots.

The fact that Beane said what he said — and the fact that the NFL had to tell Beane not to say things like that — underscores the issue. But if the message from the league to the teams is “just don’t say it if you’re going to do it,” that really doesn’t protect the players who choose to not be vaccinated.

Politically, it’s almost a mirror image of the anthem issue. Those who insist on players standing for the song tend to lean right. Those opposed to vaccinations tend to lean right. Regardless, the players have the right to not stand and to not get stuck.

The difference in this context comes from the fact that the league and union are far more likely to be aligned as to the question of whether players should be vaccinated than they are to the question of whether players should stand for the anthem. This reality puts players who chose not to be vaccinated even more at risk of getting cut in favor of someone who did.

Unless the league and the union come up with a clear, enforceable strategy for protecting players who choose not to be vaccinated, those players are at very real risk of finding themselves on the outside looking in. Once players and their agents understand that most if not all General Managers would say the same thing Beane said if attached to a polygraph or medicated with Sodium Pentothal, and once players and their agents think through how difficult it will be to prove that they were cut and/or shunned for not being vaccinated (the Colin Kaepernick case would be instructive on this point), they may decide that it’s in the players’ best interest to get vaccinated.

This means that, even though there isn’t a vaccination mandate, as a practical matter there is. Teams are more likely to share Beane’s beliefs, the league isn’t likely to do anything as long as teams keep their mouths shut, and the union — which said nothing about Beane’s comments — isn’t likely to take up a fight that would tend to undermine the greater good of getting everyone vaccinated.

So that’s the takeaway, for any player or agent reading this. Unless the player has become a core member of a given roster, any player who chooses not to be vaccinated is at risk of being released. The farther down the player sits on the overall roster hierarchy, the greater the risk of not making or staying on the 53-man roster due in whole or in part to the non-vaccinated status.

55 responses to “Players who choose not to be vaccinated have rights, but those rights will be hard to enforce

  1. Yes. Players have the right not to be vaccinated. But just like in real life, every choice has consequences.

  2. Of course you toss in Kaepernick’s name into this. But if Kaepernick’s talent was on par with Josh Allen, Rodgers, or Mahomes then he would still be in this league. It will be the same here. It reflect more on those who are depth or backup caliber players then it will on the stars for each franchise.

  3. Dead wrong, Mike. Just because the NFL doesn’t require players to be vaccinated doesn’t mean they have a right not to get vaccinated, certainly not a protected right. The NFL doesn’t outlaw being a dick but that doesn’t mean a player has a right to be a dick and players get cut all the time for being a dick. As the first guy said, behavior has consequences. The NFL doesn’t require players to be vaccinated (if they did, every non-vaccinated player would be out of the league), but they certainly don’t and shouldn’t protect the ‘right’ of a player not to vaccinated.

  4. A player who gets Covid is out for a while plus they may take weeks or months to fully recover. That would impact my actions as a GM.
    You want me to pay you millions of dollars then get the vaccination.

  5. At this point our society is stripping away people’s individual rights, so it’s probably best to simply follow the crowd so you don’t end up offending anymore. Even if that means following them into the unknown like taking an experimental vaccine

  6. I remember when getting vaccinated for measles, chicken pox, mumps, shingles and the flu, along with getting a tendinitis shot was a smart thing to do. What ;s the big deal with getting vaccinated for Covid?

  7. birdlover says:
    May 8, 2021 at 9:03 am
    Dead wrong, Mike. Just because the NFL doesn’t require players to be vaccinated doesn’t mean they have a right not to get vaccinated, certainly not a protected right. The NFL doesn’t outlaw being a dick but that doesn’t mean a player has a right to be a dick and players get cut all the time for being a dick. As the first guy said, behavior has consequences. The NFL doesn’t require players to be vaccinated (if they did, every non-vaccinated player would be out of the league), but they certainly don’t and shouldn’t protect the ‘right’ of a player not to vaccinated.
    ———————————————————–
    You’ll never get work as an attorney. What cracks me up are all the people DEMANDING that people be vaccinated, and want Passports and ID cards to be shown to prove it, yet are some of the same ones that say that requiring ID to vote is “unconstitutional”

  8. Teams should simply require all team personnel (players, coaches, etc.) to wear masks everywhere on team premises. That includes the weight room and the practice field. If a player’s performance suffers as a result, their status can be weighed against players that are performing better. Perhaps their play is still better, so they make the roster.

    The league takes many steps in the name of player safety. This is a step to take in the name of team personnel safety.

  9. I missed the part of why anyone doesn’t want to be vaccinated.I don’t think it should be mandated by the government however all employers,union or no,should be able to require it.

  10. The NFL has the right to run its league as they wish just like any company. It’s a business.

    Everyone should be vaccinated. End of discussion.

    It’s not a political topic like you and other moonbats are trying to make it out to be.

    This is about life and death and respecting others.

  11. Unless you have a valid medical reason for not getting a vaccine, you need to get it. It’s not about you and your misinformed beliefs, it’s about the rest of us. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

  12. These are not time tested vaccines like most others. These have been approved for emergency use. We simply don’t know, years down the road, what the after effects are. I tend to lean toward getting it, but I completely understand the reasons some folks won’t.

  13. The team (the employer) has the right and the responsibility to do what is best for his business. He or she is the one putting up the money. If it comes down to an unvaccinated player and a vaccinated player of relatively equal ability, the team should choose the vaccinated player every time. It’s for the good of his team and his business.

  14. You’ll never get work as an attorney. What cracks me up are all the people DEMANDING that people be vaccinated, and want Passports and ID cards to be shown to prove it, yet are some of the same ones that say that requiring ID to vote is “unconstitutional”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Waaaayyyyy different situations. There are 600,000 dead Americans because of COVID, and there is a mountain of data proving beyond a shadow of doubt that vaccinations significantly reduce the risk for the individual, but more importantly for society in aggregate, from both the current strains and by reducing the chances for mutations. There is zero evidence of wide scale problems with voter fraud, and more than 60 lawsuits that were thrown out by judges appointed by conservatives and liberal administrations alike. One is a documented threat, the other is the boogey-man.

  15. The vaccine is NOT experimental. mRNA vaccines were under development more than a decade ago. All that was needed to produce the vaccine was the genome sequence, which they got in January of last year.

    THe vaccines were tested on hundreds of thousands of people…and now over 150 million Americans and hundreds of millions more in other countries have take the vaccines. They work and are safer than taking aspirin or any other over the counter medication.

    Get vaccinated and help us to finally fully open the country again. The players tell us that they are role models. They need to start acting like it.

  16. It’s interesting the rationale for not getting a vaccine because we don’t know what the long-term side effects are.

    Dozens of medications are approved every year. Some of these, we don’t even know what their mechanism of action is, let along side effects years down the road. Yet physicians commonly prescribe these medications and their patients happily take them, many without thinking twice about that.

    Long-term side effects (those not showing up years later) of vaccines are almost unheard of. Why? They really aren’t drugs/medications. They are simply a way to get one’s immune system to produce antibodies against viruses without your having to get infected with it.

    Please, for you, your family, your community, and our country, get one of the vaccines.

  17. While long-term side effect from vaccines are very, very rare, we do know that there are HUGE side effects from contracting COVID.

    Even if COVID doesn’t kill you, you can have permanent organ damage, including heart, lungs, brain, kidneys and liver.

    Avoiding a vaccine because you fear of the infinitesimal chance side effects makes no sense. Hundreds of millions of doses have been administered around the world and the side effects are so rare as to make them a complete non-issue.

  18. The team shouldn’t have access to which players are or aren’t vaccinated

  19. What if every airline demands passengers be vaccinated before being allowed to fly? Would this effect NFL teams, since most charter or have private planes?

  20. Which is more valuable to the team? which has the greater risk of not being available?

  21. The vaccine is free & available to almost everyone…. Those that choose not to get it are either selfish or ignorant….. they sit back & complain about everything that has happened as a result of the pandemic yet refuse to do the right thing to get things back to normal….. so ironic when you think about it…. Sad too!!
    Get vaccinated for others if not for yourself!!!

  22. “The team shouldn’t have access to which players are or aren’t vaccinated”

    Why? They have access to every other medical condition, test, or vaccine they have ever taken anyway.

  23. I personally a proponent of folks getting the vaccine and hope all do. But also I’m not comfortable with telling others what they should do so I assert that as a personal choice only. That said, teams and anyone else are free to make their decisions as pragmatically as they wish and how that affects some folks is something those folks just have to absorb.

  24. 33yy says:

    May 8, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    It’s interesting the rationale for not getting a vaccine because we don’t know what the long-term side effects are.

    Dozens of medications are approved every year. Some of these, we don’t even know what their mechanism of action is, let along side effects years down the road. Yet physicians commonly prescribe these medications and their patients happily take them, many without thinking twice about that.
    —————
    Your not comparing the same thing. 1st your talking about a medication to fix something you have which is worlds different than taking a vaccine to prevent yourself from getting something. When you already have an ailment the side effects of the medication are less to problematic than whatever your ailment is so you weigh that risk, when you take a vaccine its preventative so since you have no ailment it can be argued the risk may not be worth it for the individual.

  25. Coaches and GM’s can start calling players from other teams that who covet, but who might be bubble players. They can tell them to refuse to get vaccinated, get released, then they can sign them.

  26. tdskinz says:
    May 8, 2021 at 3:32 pm
    Our bodies own immune system can work wonders if its allowed to.
    ————————————————————————
    You should sit down with the families that actually lost loved ones to this pandemic & share that brilliant insight, or maybe all the people in Brazil & India….. I’m sure they will be happy to hear more about your insight on the bodies own immune system & the wonders it’s working for them & those they lost…..

  27. Your vaccinated…your safe, right? Stop worrying about me. Let’s move on

  28. The quickest way to return to full stadiums, economic recovery, no masks, etc… is to get a free vaccine.

  29. If a player doesn’t want to get vaccinated that’s his right.
    If a team doesn’t want an unvaccinated player on their roster, that’s their right too.
    The choice is literally on the player on how they want to weigh the risks and rewards. But given their profession, it’s pretty amusing that they’re so concerned about an ‘untested vaccine’ when football is much more likely to do long term damage to their health.

  30. ignatiusgerard says:
    May 8, 2021 at 4:45 pm
    Your vaccinated…your safe, right? Stop worrying about me. Let’s move on
    ————————————————————————————-
    Actually that’s what we want to all do, move on….. but because there are those of you CHOOSING not to do the right thing, we that have done the right thing still have to worry about mutated strains that YOU allow to spread by becoming petrie dishes for the virus to do just that…..no, I’m not worried about you at all as you are not worried about those you are putting in jeopardy & THAT’S what frustrates many of us that DO CARE ABOUT OTHERS…..

  31. Do your vaccines work or don’t they?? As I’ve heard many times, my body my choice. Does that now not apply??

  32. First let me say I have been vaccinated, but to those who are saying people should be vaccinated simply to protect those around them I would answer that every year nearly 100,000 people die in the United States from alcohol use and abuse. This includes one person every hour who is killed in a drunk driving accident. If we argue that people should be vaccinated to protect others then we should also argue that people should stop drinking booze to protect those around them. But we all know that’s not going to happen. So are we or are we not our brother’s keeper? Selective outrage over one issue and complete lack of concern for another is the very definition of hypocrisy.

  33. “for any player or agent reading this” Your delusional self-importance is hilarious.

  34. “Do your vaccines work or don’t they?? As I’ve heard many times, my body my choice. Does that now not apply??”

    To answer your first question, yes. All evidence is conclusive, especially about the Pfizer vaccine. As to the second, yes, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Vaccines are totally optional. However, if you don’t vaccinate your children, they will not go to public schools. And you will not be able to travel to some countries without proper vaccinations. Not getting the Covid vaccine is up to you, but you may find certain things harder to do than before the pandemic. Try not to complain when it happens.

  35. 1. None of these vaccines have completed phase three testing. The first that completes it in October 2022 per CDC.

    2. Only 33% of all conventional vaccines receive FDA approval but they new unconventional vaccines are being used without even phase three testing. (MIT study 2018)

    3. mRNA technology has never been approved for use in humans, until the FDA made an emergency use declaration.

    So I thank you Guinea pigs who are testing it for me.

  36. realamerican1 says:
    May 8, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    So I thank you Guinea pigs who are testing it for me.
    ——–

    So I thank Americans who have more courage than I do and are taking a small risk to help save the nation.

    There, fixed it for you.

  37. “So I thank Americans who have more courage than I do and are taking a small risk to help save the nation.

    There, fixed it for you.”

    If pressuring everyone to take an untested, experimental, vaccine using a technology never before approved for humans, and which has still not received formal FDA approval, is courage then I congratulate you.

    I will wait until this massive genetic experiment is over thank you very much.

  38. Schools and employers will not be allowed to mandate Covid vaccination due to the Nuremberg Code. They will try but like the previous poster mentioned, mRNA is not approved for humans. Voluntary consent is required per Nuremberg Code.

  39. It amazes me that people will refuse to eat meat because it is bad for their health or cow fats etc.

    They will protest GMO products and pay a dollar more for a pound of organic apples (I am all for organics btw)

    They will engage in any diet that promises to help them live longer.

    And yet the second the government offers them an artificial, man made gene treatment, they sign on without question.

    I get it, COVID is a serious issue, however, so is taking an unstudied shot straight to the vein. Everyone should think about it and look in to what they are doing before they do it. ONCE THE VACCINE IS TAKEN YOU CANNOT UNDO IT.

    I will wait, and I will not be baited by a big mac or the offer fly somewhere.

    I wish everyone the strength to make the right decision for them.

    And make sure to take 10000 IUs of vitamin D everyday!

  40. “Politically, it’s almost a mirror image of the anthem issue. Those who insist on players standing for the song tend to lean right. Those opposed to vaccinations tend to lean right.”

    Anyone who can equate politics with a vaccine is possibly insane. In real life I know and work with people of all walks of life. People who got the vaccine and people who did not get it all expressed concern over different aspects of taking a vaccine that nobody knows what could come in one year or ten years down the line. That is well within human nature to have that concern and politics have absolutely no bearing on that. Did some jump at the opportunity even with concern? Yes. Do others swear it off? Yes. Is that irrelevant to left or right leaning? Absolutely.

    The virus or the vaccine being political is largely media driven with the help of some delusional politicians and if you step outside of the internet and social media you’ll find out you have plenty of common with your neighbor regardless of their political leanings.

  41. Right from the Washington Post today…the highest vaccinated country in the world is having a worse Covid outbreak than India. If you don’t believe me, just go look for yourself.

  42. 99.97% survival rate if you catch it. Less than 5% of infections are hospitalized. Stop with the “it’s life or death” hyperbole. It’s moronic.

  43. The proportions vs. total vaccinations are very low, yes, but is it worth noting that 65% of the deaths in the *entire history* of the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system are related to Covid vaccines? If the vaccines are truly effective, “For the sake of the many” is a huge fallacy here. Why be so concerned with who else gets wet if there are more than enough umbrellas to go around? Players are generally very healthy, relatively young adults who are statistically at very, very low risk. Everyone should be free to make their own decision without retribution or shame.

  44. I’m not getting the vaccine and you can try shaming me into next year, I don’t care.

  45. realamerican1 says:
    May 8, 2021 at 7:52 pm
    It amazes me that people will refuse to eat meat because it is bad for their health or cow fats etc.

    They will protest GMO products and pay a dollar more for a pound of organic apples (I am all for organics btw)

    They will engage in any diet that promises to help them live longer.

    And yet the second the government offers them an artificial, man made gene treatment, they sign on without question.
    ————————

    It amazes me that people will take all sorts of prescription medications which are proven to have potentially devastating side effects but won’t take a vaccination that could help our country return to normal.

  46. realamerican1 says:
    May 8, 2021 at 7:27 pm
    “So I thank Americans who have more courage than I do and are taking a small risk to help save the nation.

    There, fixed it for you.”

    If pressuring everyone to take an untested, experimental, vaccine using a technology never before approved for humans, and which has still not received formal FDA approval, is courage then I congratulate you.

    I will wait until this massive genetic experiment is over thank you very much.
    ——

    I’m not saying people who take the vaccine are heroes, but I consider it a lot more “real american” than sitting on the sideline calling them “guinea pigs” and being otherwise dismissive of people who see value in doing something that could help the country return to normal.

  47. The vaccine is the DEVIL… just like FOOSEBALL…..
    & I thought the WATER BOY was a comedy, not a real life example of how stupid could really be… who’d of thunk it??!!

  48. Gotta always squeeze in a Kaepernick comment (I’m sure I’ll get censored again for writing that name to the fanboys at PFT) but EVERY American has the right to take or not take a vaccine that has not yet been approved by the FDA.

  49. Players who choose not to be vaccinated have rights, but those rights will be hard to enforce
    ______________________________________________

    NAH, NAH they won’t Mike, ever heard if HIPAA laws?

    Didn’t think so! Might have a player as a team owner if they push this!

  50. Standing or not standing for the anthem brings no ill consequences to others. Not being vaccinated could potentially kill others. I have zero problems with private companies requiring a vaccine for their employees. No discrimination against not vaccinated employees. They are not a protected class. And your religious rights should stop at the point where it can literally bring harm or death to others.

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