Urban Meyer said the quiet thing out loud. Now, the NFL Players Association is taking action.
“These comments have led us to open an investigation,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told PFT via text message regarding Meyer’s admission that player vaccination status was considered in making roster cuts.
The joint NFL and NFLPA protocols have indeed created an incentive to weed out unvaccinated players. However, the rules prohibit considering vaccination status in making employment decisions.
The smart approach, then, is to consider it but not say so. Meyer failed in that regard.
”Everyone was considered,” Meyer told reporters, “that was part of the production and also was he vaccinated or not. To say that was a decision-maker, it certainly was under consideration.”
Bills G.M. Brandon Beane said earlier this year that he’d cut an unvaccinated player if it led to a normal offseason. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith decried the “stupidity” of the remark. The league office spoke to Beane about his remarks.
Undoubtedly, teams considered vaccination status. Why wouldn’t they? It likely was a major factor, for example, in New England’s decision to cut quarterback Cam Newton. But it’s not something that can be admitted, and Meyer’s friend Bill Belichick didn’t — and wouldn’t — link the two. That’s where Meyer erred, and that’s why he’s going to have a mess to clean up in the coming days.