NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell long ago proved that he’ll opt for being woke even if it means going broke, as seen in the league’s full-on embrace of the radical left, oft-violent Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
So it comes as no surprise that when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, that Goodell would choose coercion over respect for the individual. But he probably didn’t expect the pushback seen Thursday from DeAndre Hopkins, one of the game’s biggest stars, and a host of other players.
On Thursday, the NFL informed clubs that if a 2021 game cannot be played due to unvaccinated players contracting COVID-19, the team with the outbreak will forfeit the game and be credited with a loss for playoff seeding.
The team responsible for a canceled game will be responsible for financial losses and subject to possible discipline, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Players on both teams will not get paid the week of the cancellation.
“As we learned last year, we can play a full season if we maintain a firm commitment to adhering to our health and safety protocols and to making needed adjustments in response to changing conditions,” Goodell said in a memo sent to clubs and obtained by The Associated Press.
As a result of the stiff penalties — see arm-twisting — that the Arizona Cardinals star receiver took exception, as Hopkins took to Twitter to say he may consider retiring.
“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,” he said in a tweet that would later be deleted.
The player would later follow that tweet with this offering:
Btw I got about 9 more years in me, y’all have a good day 😎
— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) July 22, 2021
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley drew the ire of the fearful in June when he expressed an unwillingness to get the coronavirus vaccine, saying he’d “rather take my chances with Covid and build up my immunity that way. Eat better. Drink water. Exercise and do what I think is necessary to be a healthy individual.”
Beasley asked in a tweet Thursday night what would happen if a vaccinated player giving an unvaccinated player COVID-19? He also added this:
Nothing has changed. I’m still livin freely. Goodnight.
— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) July 23, 2021
Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott weighed in to say the decision to get vaccinated should not be forced on others.
Elliot contracted COVID-19 last year and said he has been vaccinated.
“I got the vaccine just because I wanted to put myself in the best situation to be out there for my team week in and week out. But I mean, not everyone feels that strongly or maybe other people still have their view of vaccines. You can’t force someone to do something that they don’t want to do to their body,” he said.
Yet, Goodell is willing to do the next best thing, which is to harshly penalize those who don’t get it.
Running back Leonard Fournette, with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs, suggested in a tweet he too would later delete that he would not be taking a shot.
“Vaccine I can’t do it…….” Fournette tweeted.
New England Patriots linebacker Matt Judon let his frustration with the NFL player’s union over the matter be known — Caution: Adult Language.
The NFLPA Fucking sucks
— Matthew Judon (@man_dammn) July 22, 2021
Other NFL players and former players debated the issue on social media:
I know 2 people right now who got the vaccine but are covid positive.. 🤷🏾♂️ I’m just saying. I wouldn’t look at a teammate as bad if he don’t get the vax, no pressure from 5️⃣ https://t.co/OGTbKJ1A6Z
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) July 22, 2021
Sooo the top scientists in the entire world got together to figure out how to combat Covid-19. And when they came up with a vaccine, you question them. They are trying to save lives and you have doubt😳😳
— Jerry hughes Jr (@Iam_jerryhughes) July 23, 2021
I agree with you. I’m also of the crazy thought that some medical decisions are…SELFISH. It’s a vaccine that absolutely no one has more than a year worth ACTUAL research on. I should take it not because I’m comfortable with it but because…?
— Darius Butler (@DariusJButler) July 22, 2021
Here’s some other responses to the story from other sources:
This is how you mandate the COVID vaccine without actually mandating the COVID vaccine https://t.co/lDa8fYjwk2
— Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) July 22, 2021
Moving from the carrot to the stick https://t.co/bpECGoo9ep
— Steven Lemongello (@SteveLemongello) July 22, 2021
Nobody – govt or business – wanted the blowback from mandating vaccination. So everyone hoped that rational individual choices would lead to >80% vax rates – rendering mandates unnecessary.
Didn’t happen, & it feels like we’ve now hit the Mandate Tipping Point. Exhibit A below: https://t.co/AOTk3Uo6Wd
— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) July 23, 2021
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