NFLPA Seeks Reintroduction of Stricter COVID Protocols Following Spike in Cases

Published 08/07/2021, 10:30 AM EDT


The 2021 NFL season is less than a month away. With fans gearing up for another exciting season of gridiron football, five months of twists and turns await.

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With fans too now allowed to attend games at stadiums, the new season promises to be a departure from what we saw in 2020. Last season was unlike any other. With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the nation, fans were barred from attending games and players too had to follow strict protocols to ensure the spread of the virus was limited.

Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (middle) looks on from the sidelines with head coach Bill Belichick (right) after being replaced in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

But with vaccinations now available, the safety protocols for players and staff alike were loosened. Yet still, it seems were are yet to brave the storm.

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Due to the advent of the delta variant of coronavirus, infections are once again seeing a rise. And perhaps what is more concerning is the rise of “breakthrough” cases among vaccinated individuals.

While things still seem to be under control, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) feels that stricter protocols must once again be applied to prevent the spread of the virus.

NFLPA seeks stricter testing protocols

The NFL and the NFLPA together reached a consensus regarding the loosening of coronavirus restrictions. But given the spike in cases due to the delta variant, the players association sent a memo to the league regarding a return to stricter COVID protocols.

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“Based on the guidance of our medical experts and what we know about this new variant, this is the best defense we have to prevent infections and protect you and your families, while also executing a full season,” the NFLPA wrote in its memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The association further wrote that it would recommend the league to test every player and staffer everyday if they enter a team facility regardless of their vaccination status.

Jan 3, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (left) looks on from the Chiefs bench. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

As per the current protocols daily testing is being conducted on unvaccinated players. Meanwhile, vaccinated players and staffers too are required to be tested but only once every two weeks.

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The league is yet to respond to the memos and the suggestions put forward by the NFLPA. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell who was vaccinated before the Super Bowl too is yet to respond to the memo.

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The NFL too has taken a strong stance regarding the vaccination status of players. The league sent a memo to teams stating that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week schedule due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will be force to forfeit the tie.

Currently, over 90% of the league’s players have been administered at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. How they respond to these restrictions if implemented will be interesting to see.

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Shivayan Roy

1068 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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