When receiver Amari Cooper tested positive for COVID-19 late last week, it automatically took him out for Dallas’ Week 11 contest against Kansas City and Week 12 matchup with Las Vegas on Thanksgiving because he’s unvaccinated.
While quarterback Dak Prescott voiced his support for Cooper last week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones noted in an interview on 105.3 The Fan the clear differences of being vaccinated vs. being unvaccinated in this situation.
“First of all, he wouldn’t have been testing had he been vaccinated,” Jones said, via Mark Lane of WFAA. “So, he didn’t have symptoms. So, he wouldn’t have been tested. So, there’s a very likelihood like he is he might have played had he been vaccinated, number one. Number two, after you are tested and you are vaccinated, you can come back quicker. It’s an automatic 10 days if you haven’t been vaccinated. It’s not automatic if you have not been vaccinated and you get to test and testing negative is important, but you have to have a couple tests negative.
“It is very punitive to get the COVID, to be trite, it’s very punitive to get the COVID if you’re not vaccinated in the NFL. It’s very punitive. We have a high alert for unvaccinated players in the NFL, a high alert. And, in fact, it is punitive as we see if in fact you’re not vaccinated and get the COVID as opposed to being vaccinated and getting the COVID. Period. And we’re going through kind of a classic case of how it would have been different vaccinated.”
Asked if he’s disappointed in Cooper, Jones didn’t give a direct yes or no answer, but instead pointed to the team aspect of the sport.
“I’m just, again, I said it early. You check ‘me’ at the door in a football team,” Jones said. “That has nothing to do with the issues of masking, not masking, getting vaccinated, not getting vaccinated. And if I have a tone, I shouldn’t. It just has nothing to do with it. The facts are it is a ‘we’ thing when you walk into the locker room, and anybody is being counted on to pull his weight. Everybody expects that. They look around at each other. They understand everybody’s rights. They do. We do. Everybody understands our rights and our options as it pertains to those rights. But can you — if you forget it’s a ‘we’ thing and how important your part is.
“Obviously these guys are rewarded. They’re rewarded financially. Now, Amari Cooper is outstanding, folks. He’s one of the highest character guys you will ever be around in any area. And he’s outstanding in his introspect and how he does things. When he was at the Raiders for a year or two he set up a library for players to read during their breaks which they have. So, my point is he’s outstanding and nobody’s saying that he isn’t outstanding. But this is a classic case of how it can impact a team when people are, at the end of the day, this is not individual; this is team. You cannot win anything individually. So, all of that are statements everybody has heard until they are blue in the face. But the point is this popped us. This did pop us.”
Cooper has 44 receptions for 583 yards with three touchdowns in 2021. Coincidentally, Cooper’s positive test means he won’t have a chance for a proverbial “revenge game” against his old team, as the Cowboys will host the Raiders on Thanksgiving.