Joe Judge not taking sides, just explaining realities to players on vaccines

NFL: OCT 22 Giants at Eagles
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New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is trying not to take a side in the discussions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines and whether his players do, or don’t, get vaccinated.

However, he’s also being bluntly clear that the decision not to get one of the three vaccines currently available will make life this season more challenging for his players.

I chose to never take a side,” Judge said, via Zack Rosenblatt of “And everybody has different opinions and beliefs and whatever they want to say. But my thing has been the entire time: I’m not going to take a side. The league and union have an agreement in terms of what the players’ choices are and it’s my job as a coach to inform everyone of all the information. When the players make their choice to enforce protocols if they choose not to be vaccinated, and that’s kinda just been it.

“We’re very honest with our players, and talk to them all the time. We just make sure they understand the reality is that it’s going to be tougher living if you’re not vaccinated.”

The Giants aren’t one of the 10 teams that have reached the 90 percent. Per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, the team’s infection control officer, Ronnie Barnes, indicated the team is “certainly shooting for relaxation of protocols” by getting to the 85 percent threshold set by the NFL.

The realities that face players that don’t get vaccinated will include the need for continued facial coverings, daily COVID-19 tests, increased travel restrictions, inability to leave team hotels on the road, and extended quarantine procedures following a positive case. Additionally, for players at the back end of the roster, it will be easier and more practical for teams to keep players that are vaccinated over ones that are not.

“You gotta be disciplined and follow all the protocols because it does affect the team and it affects the potential of what we can do,” Judge said. “So we just gotta make sure we’re disciplined and go through with it. In terms of the whole thing navigating this: To stand in a room with people of such diverse backgrounds, this isn’t a topic where I need to have a side. It’s just: You have a decision they’ve afforded you to make, here’s the information and whatever decision you make you have to live with it.”

For Judge, it’s a simple explanation to detail. One door yields one reality and the second door will bring another. The players will have to live with the consequences of whichever door they choose.

“All I can tell them is: Listen, I can tell you what day to day is going to be like and what the length of the season is going to be like and beyond that, the medical part has to stay up to the doctors,” Judge said.

8 responses to “Joe Judge not taking sides, just explaining realities to players on vaccines

  1. Judge has waited his entire life for this coaching opportunity. He’s living his dream. Players take all kinds of injections, and risk injury every snap. It’s hard to understand why a player wouldn’t want to be out on the field, but Judge sounds pretty mature about the whole thing. You have a locker room full of guys from many different backgrounds and education levels. Many belief systems in one locker room. Sometimes it probably feels like the coaching is the easy part. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s difficult to decipher unless you do your own research. Second hand information and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee. Coffee used to be 25 cents (for you youngsters).

  2. It’s ok to takes sides when one side is based on science and data and the other is based on conspiracy theories. The NFL and its various teams are not a branch of the government. They are private businesses and are well within their rights to tell their employees to get vaccinated or find another line of work.

  3. Joe Judge should probably act more like a judge and less like a tight rope walking liberal coward who is more interested in keeping his job and not making anybody upset than he is with protecting every member of the organization.

  4. It’s a shame that this common-sense approach will be vilified by those angry that he is not mandating, dictating, or capitulating.

  5. Society in general could have used Judge’s blunt and honest message weeks ago before the new variant began to take hold. In my community about 70% of those over age 12 are vaccinated, and those who are not are asked to where masks while indoors. Yet when I go to the grocery store, for example, it’s clear the 30% who made the choice to forgo the vaccines are not upholding their end of the bargain. We ALL have a choice, and we ALL should be willing to live with the consequences and be respectful enough to our fellow citizens to follow the rules.

  6. That’s real leadership! NOT. If you think the vaccines are safe and it gives your team an advantage, that’s the side you should take. If you think the vaccines are questionable or offer no advantage, that’s the side you should take. For a head coach, being a Mugwump isn’t leadership.

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