DeMaurice Smith: Players will be paid whether they are vaccinated or not

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On the surface, the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to the simple proposition that players can’t be cut for not being vaccinated. Just below the surface, the situation becomes far more complex.

During a Thursday press conference, NFLPA executive director De Smith said that players can’t be cut for not being vaccinated. He also said that players will be paid, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.

The reality is that, all things being equal, teams will be more inclined to cut players who haven’t been vaccinated. The mere fact that players who land on the COVID-19 reserve list will be paid this year makes it even more likely that teams will err on the side of keeping players who have been vaccinated, and cutting players who haven’t been.

As long as coaches and General Managers don’t admit that they were influenced by vaccine status and otherwise create no paper trail of their thinking, it will be impossible to prove that a player’s status as unvaccinated caused or contributed to the loss of a roster spot in favor of a player who chose to get vaccinated.

Again, this doesn’t mean stars who don’t get vaccinated will be at risk. Beyond the clear and obvious first-teamers, however, vaccination status becomes another factor in the objective, dispassionate assessment that coaches and General Managers constantly make regarding the players to keep and the players to cut.

As Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Thursday, the more players get vaccinated, the quicker a team returns to normal. And the more normal things are, the less distractions a team will have to deal with. Also, from a pure dollars-and-cents standpoint, owners will prefer paying players who are less likely to suddenly become unavailable due to a positive COVID test.

That’s the fact that fans who suddenly care deeply about player rights (after years of not giving a shit about the subject at all) are forgetting. The unvaccinated starting quarterback on their favorite team (or, perhaps more importantly, on their fantasy team) will still be tested every single day — and will remain susceptible to being abruptly yanked from the roster, possibly on the day of a game.

4 responses to “DeMaurice Smith: Players will be paid whether they are vaccinated or not

  1. players who et the vaccine should get a free pass on their next PED test. It is a drug and it improves their ability to play

  2. DeMaurice Smith cannot force any coach in the league to keep any player on his roster. He also cannot force any coach to give any player the starts or plays to reach any contractual incentives.

    Get vaccinated.

  3. Player’s who have religious or medical reasoning behind not getting vaccinated, I fully support. I also don’t agree that fans are historically apathetic about NFL player’s rights as outlined in the NFL/NFLPA contract. They understand that if the prisoners ran the system, there would be no system, and at best, season ticket prices would drastically increase.

  4. As long as they play they should get paid. If not then they should not be paid. Simple..Smith can’t promise a thing. The man has proven to be an idiot and is nothing but a mouthpiece. As far as being cut. A team can cut anyone at anytime for just about any reason.

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