For NFL players, vaccination status has relevance to media and fans because players who aren’t vaccinated will be at greater risk of being unavailable to practice and/or play, possibly without much advance notice. Thus, despite those who would try to shout down reporters who would inquire as to whether a player has been vaccinated, it’s a very fair question.
It doesn’t have to be answered, however. Two NFL starting quarterbacks opted not to answer the question during Wednesday press conferences.
Via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson declined to answer the question.
“Just like everyone in society, [it’s] their decision, keeping that to themselves,” Jackson said. “I feel we do a great job here of taking the vaccine and staying away from COVID . . . and staying away from the outside to the people that’s attracting it.”
Typically, those who decline to say whether they’ve been vaccinated haven’t been. And that’s fine, as long as they understand that they’ll still be subject to the 2020 protocols.
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, also declined to answer the question of whether he’s been vaccinated, via Connor Hughes of TheAthletic.com. Wilson called it a “personal” matter.
While it’s a personal decision insofar as each person has to make the decision for himself or herself, it shouldn’t be a personal matter as to whether someone has been vaccinated. For NFL players, vaccination status becomes anything but personal if the lack of a vaccine prevents them from participating in their very public job — one on which members of the public wager money based on the assumption that they will be available to play.
Players may not like it, but it goes with the territory of the jobs that they have. Even if they’ll be paid if not vaccinated and COVID positive, they won’t be permitted to play. That’s extremely relevant for fans and media to know.