Why Vaccination is Important for NFL Players

Feb 7, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA; General view of the NFL Shield logo on the field before Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There have been a lot of debates over the last couple of months regarding the Covid-19 vaccine. Players across the league have gone to social media and voice their opinions, for both sides. The most common concern among players who haven’t been vaccinated is that they believe there isn’t enough information out there for them to make a decision. Teams have tried to give as much information as possible, even bringing in vaccination experts to talk about the benefits of the vaccine. For NFL players though, there is one argument above all that should push them towards becoming vaccinated.

Baker Mayfield, the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, said it best. 

While we should hope that players are becoming vaccinated because of the public benefits of a high vaccination percentage — players should also realize the benefits being vaccinated gives their teams.

The NFL has given out much stricter Covid protocols for unvaccinated players as well, which is just another reason players should be getting vaccinated. For evidence on how being vaccinated helps out a team, look no further than the Minnesota Vikings. 

Vaccinated players are not considered high-risk close contacts, and as a result, do not need to isolate. While this is only training camp, and likely only 5-10 days of missed practices, this could have had dire effects during the season. If this same situation had happened during the season, Kirk Cousins would have been forced to go into Covid-Protocols and likely missed a game for the Vikings. Having your starting quarterback miss a game because he chose to not get vaccinated, is just unacceptable. Head Coach Mike Zimmer has also pointed this out, during a media appearance after the news broke. 

The Vikings are lucky that this is happening right now, but other teams around the league should be taking note as well. This should be a wake-up call for why it is best for their team for players to become vaccinated. Especially with the Delta variant spreading as of right now, players are going to be testing positive for Covid now, and during the season. It is imperative that players give themselves the best chance of being available for games, and getting the vaccine is the way to do so. 

We now have an example of a team losing their starting quarterback for some time, despite not (yet) testing positive for the virus, all because he chose not to receive the vaccine. During the season this could derail a team’s chances for an upcoming game, and possibly cost them a playoff berth.

Players should see the effects that their selfish choice would have on their team, and make the right decision.