There is still more than a week left for the start of the new National Football League season, and she is already at odds with the players’ union over the Covid guidelines.
The NFL Players Association has agreed to renew COVID policies for the 2021 season, primarily following 2020 policies, including daily testing and masking warrants. However, the delta version has resulted in an increase in COVID cases, discussions are underway to make vaccines mandatory for gamers.
At a press conference last week, NFL General Counsel Lawrence Ferzani said the league welcomes a vaccine mandate for players, which the NFLPA is expected to approve. Farazani was responding to a question regarding NFLPA president and Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Jesse Traitor, who alleged that the NFL never discussed the tenure. Traitor told a Cleveland radio show that the time for the league to issue player warrants “has already passed,” especially with the season so close.
The NFL said it was confused by Traitor’s comments, reiterating it would favor the players’ tenure.
“We have been discussing since the start of mandatory vaccinations for players’ unions,” Farazani said on a media call last Thursday. “We have directed the staff and trainers required to vaccinate. We would like this order to come into effect from tomorrow, ”he said.
The NFL also said it is still in talks with the NFLPA about additional testing for vaccinated players. Currently, these players are tested every 14 days, but the league wants to extend this to every seven days. Unvaccinated players should be tested every day, including holidays and their week off.
The NFL said the NFLPA offers daily testing for all players. The union did not return a request for comment from CNBC to clarify its position on the matter.
The league fined two unvaccinated Buffalo Bills players last week for violating mask guidelines. Wideout Isaiah Mackenzie was fined over $ 14,000 for not wearing a mask. Days after the economic sanction, Mackenzie took to Instagram to announce that he had received his first dose of the vaccine. Receiver Cole Beasley, a vocal immunization critic, was also fined.
While some still object to receiving the vaccine, the NFL has said “about 93% of players are vaccinated” with more than 99% of team and league staff. The league has recognized a “major leap” in Covid cases across the country, warning it is likely to see positive tests throughout the season.
The NFL uses genetic sequencing on positive cases to determine the type of COVID. The league said most of the new cases are related to Delta, and NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr Alan Sills has said that “there is some dislocation of cases between teams which means more of a positive. But it did not turn into an epidemic. “
But the Tennessee Titans suffered a bit of anger. Nine people, including head coach Mike Wrabel, have tested positive for Covid. In that incident, the NFL noted that 38% of the uneducated players on the team tested positive. Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 21, the NFL said it had 68 positive cases out of 7,190 tests.
The NFL doesn’t force its referees to outright vaccinate, but that may change as other leagues implement the mandate.
On Saturday, the National Basketball Association reached a vaccine mandate agreement with its umpires union. The deal requires all referees to be fully vaccinated for the upcoming 2021-22 season “unless they have a religious or medical exemption,” the league said. Referees added by the NBA will take the recommended boosters. Officials who skip vaccinations will not be allowed to work in NBA games.
NFL team owners have vowed not to extend the season due to the outbreak, threatening with loss of teams and players and fines if the postponement occurs. Media partners are paying the league more than $ 100 billion for new television rights to the advertising list due to the postponement of NFL games in 2020.
The NFL has said it has no plans to restrict attendance, although COVID continues to wreak havoc within the league, although some NFL teams require fans to be vaccinated upon entry . The NFL lost over $ 4 billion last season due to the limited number of fans in the stadiums.
The 102nd NFL campaign begins September 9 when Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys.