Baker Mayfield: Higher vaccine rates create a competitive advantage

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
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Cole Beasley may not want to hear it, but it’s the truth. NFL teams with higher vaccination rates will have an edge over teams with lower vaccination rates.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield addressed that point earlier today, while speaking at a youth football camp.

It’s a competitive advantage, but it’s also way more than that,” Mayfield said, via Jake Trotter of “It’s about safety, just general health and well-being of human life.”

That’s why Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin has linked willingness to be vaccinated with desire to win. It’s another box to check on the path to a potential championship. Vaccinated players, who will be tested once every two weeks, won’t have the constant, daily risk of suddenly becoming not available to practice or play — and they definitely won’t have to worry about finding out on game day that they can’t go. Also, the vaccinated players won’t operate under the screwy COVID protocols of the 2019 season.

Beyond that, and as Mayfield said, it’s the right thing to do. Plenty of people have crowed about how they’re young and healthy and COVID can’t get them without ever once acknowledging (or even realizing) that other people aren’t as young and healthy and impervious to illness. Getting vaccinated means ending the threat presented by COVID.

But the issue continues to inexplicably be political, driven by supporters of the former president who loudly will insist (and I have the emails) that he should be praised for so quickly developing the vaccine that they refuse to ever take.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin continues to rub his hands together and laugh at all of us.