Colts G.M. Chris Ballard wants players to make their own decisions, hopes they’ll decide to get vaccinated

NFL: AUG 30 Preseason - Colts at Bengals
Getty Images

The Colts, like many teams, are struggling to get enough players to choose to get vaccinated. G.M. Chris Ballard tells Bob Kravitz of TheAthletic.com that the team hopes that players will make their own decisions — and that they’ll decided to get the shot(s).

“One thing about our group is they’re very mature and they’ll handle whatever decisions are made,” Ballard said. “If we’re not above the 85-percent mark, we’ll handle it with all that comes with it, the social distancing and everything else.”

Ballard and the Colts will handle it, but Ballard doesn’t want to.

“[D]o I think our guys should be vaccinating? Yes, absolutely,” Ballard said. “But we’re not going to force people. Encourage it? Absolutely. Absolutely. I think it’s the right thing to do for our club and our country, but it’s an individual decision to make. You talk about hesitancy, well, it’s not like our country is running out to get it, either, so it’s not just the NFL.”

Ballard knows the Colts still have time, time for players to arrive at the decision that Ballard hopes they will.

“The season doesn’t start today,” Ballard said. “We’ve got a number of guys on the fence right now, so we’ll see where that goes.”

The Colts, like other teams, have tried to make relevant information available to the players.

“We’ve had people come in and talk to our team, every team has done that,” Ballard said. “And they’ve been good, honest, and just gave the facts. But these guys, they’re going to question things more. They want to know what they’re putting in their bodies and want to be sure it isn’t going to affect them long term. I had no hesitation getting it. Same with my family, obviously. But I think slowly, as time passes and we learn more about it, guys will make up their own minds. And if we don’t have the numbers , it’s just going to be something we’ll have to deal with. . . . [W]e’re not going to force anybody. We want it to be their decision. We want them to believe in it and do it for the right reasons.”

It’s the right attitude and approach. With the issue becoming so contentious (unfortunately), it’s important for players to feel as good as they can about whatever decision they make. And it’s important for everyone to focus on facts and not unfounded fears that, if given credence, will make it harder for us to put the pandemic behind us for good.