For months, the NFL Players Association has pressed the league for daily testing of vaccinated players. Now, the league and the union may agree to the exact opposite of that.
PFT has confirmed that the NFL and NFLPA are closing in on a deal that would eliminate regular testing of vaccinated, asymptomatic players.
The current system, in which vaccinated players with no symptoms are tested once per week, would be replaced with a random process that would test a handful of asymptomatic vaccinated players. The details of the new system are currently being negotiated. Regardless, mandatory, weekly testing of all vaccinated players would end.
That would necessarily introduce a certain amount of vaccinated, asymptomatic, and positive payers into the workplace — and onto the field. It’s the “B” side (or maybe the “A” side) of our suggestion that players who are vaccinated, asymptomatic, and positive be permitted to practice and play. That idea at least entails knowing who is and isn’t positive. The approach that the league and union will be adopting embraces an ignorance-is-bliss attitude, harkening back to the early days of the pandemic, when some argued that more testing would only lead to more positives.
At this point, the two sides are simply trying to get through the season, with no games lost. Given that the vast majority of current positive cases entail no symptoms, a groundswell has reached critical mass on the idea that the negatives of identifying positive cases outweigh the positives.
Where will it go from here? Our suggestion would be to have the full union vote on this very simple approach for 2022: Mandatory vaccinations and boosters, and no protocols of any kind. With 96 percent of all players already vaccinated, at least half of them plus one would vote in favor of that proposal.