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 NJ.com. “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.