So far, NFL training camps have been dominated by vaccine discussions. Some players simply answer “yes.” Others give a detailed response as to why they decided to get the shot.
On the other end of the spectrum? We have the folks stirring up more controversy by giving long-winded answers detailing why they refuse to get the vaccine (in addition to spreading misinformation) as well as those who deem it a “personal decision” and won’t reveal their status (which essentially means they opted not to get the vaccine).
The New England Patriots, at the onset of camp, seemed destined to avoid such questions/distractions.
Head coach Bill Belichick said most of the players were “probably” vaccinated and that the organization had been educating its employees for quite some time about the vaccination and the benefits of getting it.
But here we are in early August and we already have questions surrounding two of the most important players on the roster.
And the team also is declining to disclose player vaccination rates.
Patriots QBs Cam Newton and Mac Jones declined to say if they were vaccinated.
Why even bother getting into the semantics of the “personal decision” or one’s unwillingness to disclose the status of something that feels almost as routine as getting a flu shot or the chicken pox vaccine? Not worth our time.
However, it’s concerning that, typically, the non-committal answer is one that very much means “no” — and that Newton (who already missed time last year due to a COVID-19 diagnosis that upended his season) and Jones both may not be vaccinated, which puts the team at serious risk in 2021.
You saw the NFL’s new COVID-19 rules and regulations. Those who are unvaccinated are subject to much more stringent guidelines. It’s very much a competitive edge if your team is beyond the suggested 85% threshold.
This isn’t baseball. A 10-day layoff because of a high-risk exposure or infection very much matters in the NFL and can completely change the complexion of a season. That could be the difference of missing 12% of the team’s games! You thought the Patriots’ problems with COVID last year were bad? Now they have a chance to almost completely avoid any such controversy and they are either 1) not going to do so or 2) opting out of having a healthy discussion regarding the matter.
It’s classic Patriots, though. No conversations other that footbaw. Footbaw rules all. It’s footbaw first. Aren’t we all humans, though? Can’t we just honestly answer questions about something that’s affecting the entire globe simultaneously?
There’s a greater cultural stranglehold within the organization likely influencing non-answers and/or completely removing answers relative to the topic from their website/YouTube channel. All we’re hoping is that QB1 and QB2 don’t run the risk of derailing what could be a resurgent season after last year’s stinker.