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NFL treats unvaccinated players like outcasts, and you can’t blame it

The NFL is offering serious incentives for vaccinations.

The NFL is offering serious incentives for vaccinations.
Image: AP

If you’re an unvaccinated NFL player at the start of training camp, your experience will be vastly different from everyone else. And it will probably suck.

Today, the NFL and NFLPA updated their COVID protocols for training camp and preseason. And let’s just say there will be major incentives for NFL players to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already. The first benefit, of course, is that athletes who take the shot (or two) will protect themselves from contracting and transmitting a highly contagious virus that has killed 600,000 Americans and 3.82 million worldwide.

After that, there’s a whole list of things players can and cannot do depending on their vaccination status.

If you somehow enjoyed quarantine, well… you’d love being unvaccinated in the NFL!

For unvaccinated players at the club facility, masks stay on and social distancing rules are in effect. But wait, there’s more!

Remember that super enjoyable COVID test everyone loves? Well, unvaccinated athletes will get that test “every day”!

The meals will be grab and go, travel restrictions will be in effect, no sponsorship activities will be allowed, oh, and players will not be able to use the sauna or steam room.

There are other rules, too. But I wonder how many NFL guys will read that last one and think, “no sauna? Fuck it. Sign me up for the jab.” I mean, as we’ve written before, anything that incentivizes more people to take the shot is good for all of us.

It should be mentioned that besides the public health benefits, there is now a competitive advantage for vaccinated players:

It seems like everyone, NFL players included, want to return to “normal” but some of us don’t want to do the work to get there. Sidenote — to even call it “work” is generous. Getting a shot is relatively easy. Some players have dodged questions about vaccination status. Others have come out to say they’re not interested in taking it at all.

But last week, Bruce Arians offered a pretty simple solution for everyone interested in getting back to the way things were before COVID. “Well, if you want to go back to normal, get vaccinated,” he told reporters. “I think everybody’s tired of meeting out here and eating outside and doing all those things we had to do last year. It’s still a personal choice, but I don’t see a reason not to be vaccinated.”

And, especially after reading this memo, wouldn’t you agree?

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