DeAndre Hopkins is questioning whether he can continue playing in the NFL because of the league’s requirements surrounding players getting vaccinated.
“Never thought I would say this, but being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @Nfl,” Hopkins wrote in a since-deleted tweet on Thursday.
As the NFL official website points out, a memo was posted Thursday updating the league’s stance on COVID-19 and players being vaccinated. While the league is not mandating players to get vaccinated, it is charging any COVID-related postponements or game cancelations due to the virus on the team with the infected players.
“If a game is cancelled/postponed because a club cannot play due to a Covid spike among or resulting from its non-vaccinated players/staff, then the burden of the cancellation or delay will fall on the club experiencing the Covid infection,” the memo read. “We will seek to minimize the burden on the opposing club or clubs. If a club cannot play due to a Covid spike in vaccinated individuals, we will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams.”
The memo also stated that if a game is canceled due to a COVID-19 related outbreak amongst non-vaccinated players, the team will forfeit that game.
“If a game cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week schedule and is cancelled due to a Covid outbreak among non-vaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the club with the outbreak will forfeit the contest and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft, waiver priority, etc,” the memo added. “For the purposes of playoff seeding, the forfeiting team will be credited with a loss and the other team will be credited with a win,”
In the new data presented, 78 percent of players in the NFL have at least one COVID vaccine shot right now. Clearly, Hopkins might not be included in that percentage. He later went on to respond to Jalen Ramsey’s tweet saying he doesn't judge him for not wanting to be vaccinated. Hopkins’ rationale is that it might have undisclosed side effects.
Matthew Judon also appears to be critical of the NFL’s updated COVID sanctions, tweeting his disapproval of the NFLPA.
Buccaneers Running Back Leonard Fournette also appears to not want to get vaccinated, tweeting and deleting “Vaccine I can’t do it…..”
As new variants of COVID begin to emerge and live events become more open, it will be imperative for players and staff to be as safe as possible.