Non-vaccinated players who get COVID could end up not being paid

USA TODAY Sports

Players who miss games due to a COVID-19 diagnosis in 2021 will indeed get paid, no questions asked. If those players are vaccinated.

If a player isn’t vaccinated, a COVID-19 diagnosis could cause the player to lose pay for all games missed because of it.

Per a letter agreement dated Tuesday, a copy of which PFT has obtained, the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed that a team “may not challenge whether or not a player’s COVID-19 infection is football-related if . . . the player was fully vaccinated at the time he contracted the virus; and the player received an initial negative test for COVID-19 upon timely reporting to preseason training camp during the 2021 League Year, and he did not have a subsequent unexcused absence from preseason training camp.”

Even if the vaccinated player tests positive after the regular-season bye week, the team may not challenge whether the positive test resulted from a football-related activity (i.e., catching COVID-19 while out of town).

By implication, teams can challenge whether a COVID-19 infection is football related for players who haven’t been vaccinated. Which, in theory, sets the stage for players who refuse to get vaccinated to potentially lose game checks if they can’t play.

Thus, the league and the union essentially have codified what we suggested two weeks ago. Players who don’t get vaccinated and who get COVID away from the facility should not be paid for missing games. While it could prompt a fight that would be resolved in arbitration (and, depending on the IR/NFI rules for 2021, could require the team to shelve the player for most if not all of the rest of the season), it’s another clear incentive for players who haven’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated.

55 responses to “Non-vaccinated players who get COVID could end up not being paid

  1. I remember before I got the vaccine feeling a little bit of trepidation about it. But, yeah, wanting to be safe for my family and be a contributing member of society, I got it. The day after the second dose was pretty miserable, but life has been FANTASTIC since. I go maskless everywhere now. Life is almost like 2019 again.

    Get the vaccine, people.

  2. If they are so worried about the vaccine “risks” or need more time to do “research” then these unvaccinated players can opt out of the 2021 season.

  3. So now there’s about 600,001 reasons to get vaccinated for Pro football players.

  4. The unvaccinated players are making a bet that they have no control over:

    If no other player or category A or B staff (those with access to players) are not covid positive within the disease incubation period, then the team can assume the player acquired the illness off-work.

    Unvaccinated players expecting to be paid while ill are betting multiple guys on the team will also get sick.

  5. Let’s remember, the idea of the vaccine is not about no getting Covid, Is about preventing Covid from sending you to a ICU or killing you, you know like it has with more of 600.000 Americans in a year.

  6. Makes sense. If you decide not to get vaccinated (which is your right), you could cost the NFL / your team (your employer) a lot of money when games are missed or cancelled. It’s that money that allows your employer to pay you. So make your decision based off of that, and live with the consequences either way.

  7. With the vaccine you can still catch covid, just with less serious symptoms. So the vaccinated players who test positive, and can still spread it will be paid?

  8. I get it but I can’t understand why the union wouod agree to it. Why would they agree to something that clearly won’t benefit players

  9. There will be lots of down roster players cut that will wish they got vaccinated and wonder what if the rest of thier life.

    As a business owner, I won’t pay more than the sick time you have accured. I won’t hire anyone not vaccinated or willing to so. I support- Your body, your free choice. Yet under labor laws, I have my choices also.

    My prediction is life insurance will have exemptions soon or charge more. Lots of ways to rate risk in how you get treated going forward. Overweight and older people pay more, you will also.

    Let Darwin ride, I live my life vaccinated and let the chips fall where they may.

  10. That will stand up in court! Our area of the country has been back to normal since last July.

  11. I am for the vaccine… got mine the day I was eligible.

    But I do question the legality of this. To say “it is your choice to get the vaccine” but then later say “…but you won’t get paid if you don’t” sounds like this may end up in a federal court.

  12. My thought on this is how this could this decision affect us?

    1) I would hate if my employer required a vaccine shot (any vaccine) as a condition of my employment and for me receiving pay. Many people have never received a vaccine shot ever. Could that make them potentially unemployable? How far does it go? Your rights are being eroded away.
    2) Why does it seems there is no hurry to get the vaccine FDA approved? As this seems to be a major sticking point for those holding off from getting the vaccine. Seems like this process would be fast tracked.

    I myself have been fully vaccinated so my position is more from a perspective of invasion of our/my rights, not necessarily speaking about the football players rights.

  13. I love this so much. Get the shot and get paid. Don’t get the shot, get COVID and don’t get paid. NFL not promoting stupidity.

  14. Tells you how deadly and serious this virus is when a billion dollar company can’t even pay sick time for those who contract it. Real compassion there.

  15. So simple. Get vaccinated and get on with your life.

    Virtually everyone currently in hospital ICUs for COVID have not been vaccinated. The vaccine works…..take it.

  16. What if they come down with one of the 128 other different viruses out there. Do they have to be vaccinated for all those as well? Won’t hold up in a court of law because of that.

  17. I see a SCOTUS case coming to fruition in the NFL’s future, you heard it here 1st.

  18. “Many people have never received a vaccine shot ever.”

    I’d say that’s not true at all. The vast majority of Americans have received polio and other vaxes against childhood diseases.

  19. Get vaccinated or suffer the possible consequences. No brainer for me. Get your life back to near normal.

  20. “Tells you how deadly and serious this virus is when a billion dollar company can’t even pay sick time for those who contract it. Real compassion there.”

    Lol when was the last time a corporation ever showed “compassion” when they weren’t forced to or doing it as a marketing ploy?

    You want compassion go work for a non-profit involved in helping people

  21. What would happen if the following scenario were to occur? A non-vaccinated player shreds his hamstring during a game and the MRI shows the player most likely will miss two to four weeks. A few days later the same player tests positive for Covid. Does said player get paid?

  22. Let’s say that long term side effects show up in the players that get the vaccine, the NFL could be sued for millions of dollars because they leveraged these players livelihoods to get them to get a vaccine that resulted in these side effects.

  23. TG1 says:
    June 24, 2021 at 11:10 am
    I get it but I can’t understand why the union wouod agree to it. Why would they agree to something that clearly won’t benefit players

    ——-

    Because the NFLPA represents all players and has to keep them ALL healthy. Can’t risk getting people sick for people that are uneducated about MRNA and how it works or conspiracy nuts

  24. gotitan says:
    June 24, 2021 at 11:35 am
    No way Josh Allen isn’t paid if he gets Covid.
    —————-

    Since Josh Allen isn’t wearing a mask, he must be vaccinated, and avoiding being a distraction for either side.

  25. timetolisten says:
    June 24, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    What would happen if the following scenario were to occur? A non-vaccinated player shreds his hamstring during a game and the MRI shows the player most likely will miss two to four weeks. A few days later the same player tests positive for Covid. Does said player get paid?

    ============

    This doesn’t seem hard at all. Their absence would be due to injury, so they would be paid based on the injury terms of their contract and the CBA. If they miss additional time beyond injury recovery due to illness, that would not be paid.

  26. If a guy can physically play then why would he gave to miss a game if he gets covid (vaccinated or not)? With the vaccine out there now, there is no reason for anyone to have to be held out of anything anymore. What am I missing?

  27. Did you guys see “I Am legend”? The NFL wants their players to become superhuman, get the vaccine, get swole, and then we’ll cure you after the season.

  28. I agree with the premise of no play no pay for non-vaccinated COVID-19 contraction when there is a vaccine available to everyone.

    Like it or not, employers can dictate to their employees, it has always been that way. Perhaps if you live under a rock or work in a mom & pop shop, you don’t understand the way corporate America works and always has. For example; Company meeting, HR is there with a lawyer, they hand out paperwork and explain that the company has a new policy, usually involving risk management. Bottom line, if you as an employee don’t sign on the dotted line, you are released. The same rules apply to the NFL, teams are corporate entities, players are employees with union representation. In the case of union representation, the union signs on the dotted line and the members are bulk managed with a single stroke of the proverbial pen – this too, is how it has always worked with unions.

    As for the “rights” issue, yes, your choice – and choosing has its own set of ramifications, no matter what choice you make on vaccine or in life for that matter. You make a choice, you live with it – oft times realizing the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence.

    RE: the science; not the issue here. Yes, the CDC has found myocardial inflammations in “some” people between the ages 23 and 34 – most recover with no ill side affects at all after a couple of weeks – but that isn’t the story, the story is the ratio – 12.6 out of every million, that is a 0.0013% affect rate. I sure would like to have that rate on my taxes! The same with all the overblown conspiracy theories, they spout the headline but not the actual numbers. Headlines make news, not details, couple that with tin hat websites and grapevine gossip and yeah… let’s get folks riled up.

    Per the CDC website; the case (tested) to death rate is %1.76 and falling due to guess what? vaccinations! And those vaccinated who still contract the disease typically do not die or are even hospitalized – contrast that with April 2020 when hospitals ran out of morgue space and were using refrigerated truck containers. Americans in general, live day to day, have short memories and seemingly have to have something, anything, to complain about. This country is the best in the world to live in, we enjoy more luxuries than anyone else – think about that for a moment, compared to Southeast Asia or South America.

    Vaccine isn’t the evil culprit here, the real culprit is head in the sand misinformation believer’s and tin hat conspiracy theorists.

  29. thisismy5thaccount says:
    June 24, 2021 at 12:11 pm
    What if they come down with one of the 128 other different viruses out there. Do they have to be vaccinated for all those as well? Won’t hold up in a court of law because of that.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Which of the 128 would presently be causing a world pandemic?

  30. @Pandaman any dismissed employee should immediately file a discrimination lawsuit.

  31. It should have been mandatory for all players to be vaccinated, as is the case for all NFL coaches and team employees. NFLPA once again doing a disservice to its members.

  32. A discrimination lawsuit? There is SCOTUS precedent holding that an employer CAN require vaccinations. Recently buttressed by a Federal Judge in Texas. Reading is fundamental.

  33. pats4xchamps says:
    June 24, 2021 at 1:33 pm
    @Pandaman any dismissed employee should immediately file a discrimination lawsuit.

    ———————————————————————————–

    Good luck with that. Discrimination is generally for things that aren’t based on choice such as race, gender, or sexual orientation for example. Not for personal decisions that have ramifications.

  34. Well now all the fools who still have to think about it just had their decision made for them.

  35. Why should they be paid? If you are really more worried about the vaccine than the virus you should be on the hook for any and all treatment for it.

  36. @pats4xchamps; what discrimination? Where is the “discrimination” for “choosing” NOT to adhere to a company policy (that has union backing in this case)? religious? conscientious objector? no, your “choice” – c’est la vie.

    Exercising ones freedom of choice can and usually does have ramifications. would be a total waste of mine and court time, filing a discrimination suite for wearing a tie-dye t-shirt when the company policy (signed off) for appearance is clearly business casual – same level of “offense”. Though I would probably get a warning or two…

    Seems the NFL is being more than generous to even consider letting non-vaccinated players engage in team activities/games. That’s not my opinion, that’s compared to normal company standards and the enforcement of them.

  37. I go maskless everywhere now. Life is almost like 2019 again.

    ———————-

    I’ve been going maskless for a long time now (over 6 months)…haven’t gotten the vaccine – will wait for all you human test subjects to vet it for me since it was all fast tracked.

    Thankfully live in a state where I can do it.

  38. arwiv says:
    June 24, 2021 at 1:07 pm
    If a guy can physically play then why would he gave to miss a game if he gets covid (vaccinated or not)? With the vaccine out there now, there is no reason for anyone to have to be held out of anything anymore. What am I missing?

    You are missing that policies are not tunnel visioned on one person’s health. If a player is allowed to play, and he passes covid to 15 other players who were not vaxxed, it creates avoidable health risk to other players, and possibly game cancellations.

  39. Riggo’s crew says:
    June 24, 2021 at 11:51 am
    My thought on this is how this could this decision affect us?

    1) I would hate if my employer required a vaccine shot (any vaccine) as a condition of my employment and for me receiving pay. Many people have never received a vaccine shot ever. Could that make them potentially unemployable? How far does it go? Your rights are being eroded away.
    ____________

    Why would you hate your employer requiring any vaccine? Do you really want work around people who could possibly contract typhoid or polio?

    There is no right to deliberately spread deadly diseases. You are fortunate to live in an age where many debilitating or deadly diseases have been practically eradicated, at least for now. However, if this anti-vax nonsense continues to grow our public health will be in jeopardy.

  40. marthisdil says:
    June 24, 2021 at 2:36 pm
    I go maskless everywhere now. Life is almost like 2019 again.

    ———————-

    I’ve been going maskless for a long time now (over 6 months)…haven’t gotten the vaccine – will wait for all you human test subjects to vet it for me since it was all fast tracked.

    Thankfully live in a state where I can do it.

    ——

    Interesting that 20 years of MRNA research isn’t enough of you, now go wait in the tin hat line

  41. marthisdil says:
    June 24, 2021 at 2:36 pm
    I’ve been going maskless for a long time now (over 6 months)…haven’t gotten the vaccine – will wait for all you human test subjects to vet it for me since it was all fast tracked.

    Thankfully live in a state where I can do it.
    ___________

    Congratulations on being a neanderthal.

  42. A comical visual popped into my head while reading some of the responses here. It was from a movie called Idiocracy, and the visual was a scene at the hospital where the “attendant” says, this probe goes here, no there, no that one goes there. Yeah, society is on the treadmill to doom if tea leaves and voodoo take precedence over rational thinking and science. *sigh*

  43. This makes no sense at all,the only people that could get it would be those that take the risk by not getting the vaccine.
    Then there is this!
    The NFL has never withheld checks for not getting the flu vaccine which is far more dangerous to NFL players than covid,that is a fact!

  44. The real problem is that 10-15 years from now, when some side effects are determined (either through junk-science, outright lies, or maybe even a real causual relationship) with the anti-virus, the lawyers will be all over this one. “They forced me so I could work etc etc.” And where there is the smell of money, lawyers are sure to be grubbing around……

  45. Absolute BS. Do they need the yearly flu shot as well? I’m so tired of this line of thinking.

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