Washington coach Ron Rivera brought a vaccination expert to town to try to convince players to get the COVID-19 shot. On Thursday, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians was asked whether he’ll also bring in a vaccine specialist.
“I’m the specialist,” Arians said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com.
“If you wanna go back to normal, get vaccinated,” Arians added. “Eighty-five percent is what we’re shooting for. . . . It’s still a personal choice, but I don’t see a reason not to be vaccinated.”
The question of whether and to what extent players will be vaccinated could potential create division in locker rooms. In Tampa, Arians is making his position clear. If some in the locker room feel as strongly about not getting vaccinated as Arians feels about getting vaccinated, things could get tense.
Then there’s the reality that, even though roster spots technically can’t be decided based on vaccination status, teams will gravitate in close cases toward players who have gotten the shot. As Arians said, it’s a path back to normal. And when the choices are normal and to normal, getting to normal arguably is in the best interests of the team.