NFL says 2021 games postponed for COVID outbreaks could be forfeited

In a memo despatched on Thursday, the Nationwide Soccer League has knowledgeable its groups that it doesn’t intend so as to add extra weeks to the 2021 season to accommodate schedule modifications attributable to COVID-19 outbreaks amongst unvaccinated gamers on particular person groups. And if a sport is postponed because of an outbreak — and can’t be rescheduled throughout the present 18-week schedule — the crew with the outbreak will forfeit the sport.

NFL Community’s Tom Pelissero had the story.

Sports activities Illustrated’s Albert Breer published the full memo.

Up thus far — though it has required crew coaches and different help personnel in touch with gamers to be vaccinated (or show a legitimate purpose they’ll’t be) — the league hasn’t required its gamers to get coronavirus vaccinations. Whereas the NFL hasn’t mentioned so, it’s extensively believed that it hasn’t required participant vaccinations as a result of it thinks the NFL Gamers Affiliation (NFLPA) will object to such a coverage — and make that objection stick.

And with this transfer, the NFL nonetheless isn’t requiring participant vaccinations.

However what this coverage will do is give yet-unvaccinated gamers one more sturdy incentive to get the vaccine — and provides vaccinated gamers one other sturdy incentive to strain their teammates into becoming a member of them. Bear in mind: in 2020, the league and NFLPA agreed that gamers wouldn’t be paid their salaries for any video games that had been canceled.

ESPN’s Subject Yates summarized it in simple terms.

Prior to now, vaccinated gamers have basically been allowed to return to regular pre-pandemic conduct — whereas unvaccinated gamers have mainly been required to observe the identical guidelines that utilized to them in 2020: every day COVID checks, carrying masks and observing social distancing away from the enjoying discipline, being stored from leaving the lodge on highway journeys — and so forth.

As well as, the league has let it’s recognized that they intend to cut back a given crew’s coronavirus restrictions when not less than 85% of the crew’s roster is absolutely vaccinated.

In line with the Washington Submit’s Mark Maske, these incentives have led to a large number of teams reaching the 85% threshold — and for vaccination charges amongst gamers to be properly above that of their age group within the basic inhabitants.

Whereas Kansas Metropolis Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has mentioned that his crew’s vaccination price is among the many league’s highest, it’s unknown if the Chiefs are among the many groups above the brink.

However now, the NFL desires vaccination charges throughout the league to be even higher — and it’s doing all the pieces inside its energy to make it occur.

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