There’s a belief that players reluctant to get the COVID vaccine will have a change of heart if/when a high-profile NFL player who hasn’t been vaccinated suddenly isn’t available to play in a key game due to a COVID diagnosis. Maybe they don’t need to wait for it to happen in the NFL.
The news that Suns guard Chris Paul has landed in the NBA’s COVID protocol and is out indefinitely from the NBA playoffs provides a clear example of what can happen, even as the world embraces a return to normalcy. It’s unknown whether Paul was vaccinated; if so, his absence could be short. Regardless, the Paul situation shows what can happen — and how quickly it can occur.
Before Paul, golfer John Rahm exited a tournament that he led comfortably after three of four rounds due to a COVID diagnosis. Rahm recently said he regrets not completing the vaccination process sooner.
NFL teams want to avoid similar outcomes, and they’re trying to get players to choose to get the vaccine now in order to avoid the sudden unavailability of key players during 2021 games. It will be interesting to see whether the Paul situation, coming just as players embark on their six-week break before training camp, will prompt them to get the vaccine before it’s time to report.