(JustPatriots.com)- The National Football League has taken a hard-line stance when it comes to policies regarding COVID-19 for the upcoming season.
On Thursday, the NFL issued a memo to all 32 of its teams that noted that if any team had too many players who couldn’t play because of COVID-19 — and because those players were unvaccinated — the league wouldn’t reschedule or postpone the game.
Instead, the league would simply force the team with the COVID-19 issue to forfeit the game, awarding an automatic win for the other team. In addition, the team at fault could face discipline from the league and be forced to potentially cover any financial losses the league experienced as a result.
What’s worse, the NFL said if games get cancelled, players on both teams wouldn’t receive a paycheck for that game.
In 2020, the NFL was able to play a complete schedule without cancelling any games, even with the pandemic near its height at times. To do so, they juggled the days and even weeks games were held, if there were coronavirus-related issues with some teams.
Now, though, the league’s memo states COVID-19 vaccines allow this to not happen. So, teams that have coronavirus issues because of unvaccinated players, they’ll have to pay the price for their teammates’ decisions.
The NFL said just about every team in the league is 100% vaccinated for all staff members who are classified as Tier 1 and Tier 2. The league memo said 75% of all players are “in the process of being vaccinated,” with more than half of the teams reaching overall vaccination rates of greater than 80% for players.
The league doesn’t have the power to officially mandate players receive a coronavirus vaccine. However, they are certainly using every tool at their disposal to pressure players into getting it even if they don’t want to, just so they don’t have to face such a huge penalty.
In fact, the memo itself is putting the pressure on the league’s teams itself to address the issue internally. It reads:
“Every club is obligated under the Constitution and Bylaws to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. A failure to do so is deemed conduct detrimental.
“There is no right to postpone a game. Postponements will only occur if required by government authorities, medical experts or at the Commissioner’s discretion.
“In light of the substantial roster flexibility in place for the 2021 season, absent medical considerations or government directives, games will not be postponed or rescheduled simply to avoid roster issues caused by injury or illness affecting multiple players, even within a position group.”
Not surprisingly, some vaccinated players immediately came out to complain about the NFL’s memo. They half-jokingly said the players had no rights in the league, and the NFL could do whatever it want — even if it wasn’t negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association.