NFL considers relaxed COVID-19 protocols for teams with 85-percent vaccination rate

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Good news: The NFL may create relaxed COVID-19 standards for teams that have 85 percent of its players vaccinated. Bad news: The NFL may create relaxed COVID-19 standards for teams that have 85 percent of its players vaccinated.

Peter King reports in his Football Morning in America column that the NFL is considering the implementation of greater freedoms for teams that hit that success rate for players who have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

The NFL already has created incentives for players who choose to be vaccinated. For example, those players no longer are required to wear masks at the facility or on the practice field. They also don’t have to submit to daily COVID-19 testing.

King says that one team currently is under 40 percent for its vaccinated players. The hope is that more players will take the shot once they see the relaxations that others enjoy.

Given the temptation by teams to make employment decisions based on vaccination status (whether they admit it or not), it makes sense to not have team-wide incentives based on vaccination rates. For teams where the numbers are close, some coaches, executives, and/or owners may be more inclined to keep players who have been vaccinated and cut those who haven’t been.

As one team official recently told PFT, young players are far more willing to get vaccinated, because they see it as a benefit when it comes to winning a spot. Even though Bills G.M. Brandon Beane got a talking to for saying the quiet thing out loud, the quiet thing undoubtedly lingers for some teams. Maybe most teams. Maybe all teams.

Again, it’s improper for teams to use vaccination status in deciding who stays and who goes. They’re still likely to consider it. Using an 85-percent vaccination rate for extra benefits could become a trap for some teams to violate that rule.