Fred Warner’s leadership skills are being utilized in uncharted territory.
On Thursday the NFL announced that no games will be canceled this season due to an outbreak of COVID-19 within a team. Instead, games could be forfeited and cause players to be subject to losing their game checks.
This is the last in a number of incentives designed to raise vaccination rates among players in the league.
Vaccinated players are not subjected to daily testing, wearing masks at the facility or limited numbers in the weight room. Unvaccinated players will even face travel restrictions when traveling with the team to road games, including no contact with family members or friends while away from the facility.
After signing his historic five-year contract extension, Warner shared that he has been vaccinated for COVID-19. The All-Pro linebacker is sharing his experience of the process with his teammates if they have any concerns.
“I am vaccinated and I know that I’m a person that guys can come to, to ask questions about it, whatever their concerns,” Warner said. “That’s all I’m really trying to be, a tool, a resource if someone has a question that they want to ask me. I’m always open to answer. “
Warner credited the 49ers for keeping players informed. With Levi’s Stadium used as a vaccination site throughout the offseason, players and coaches alike had access to information about receiving the vaccine.
“The vaccination conversation has been going on for the majority of the offseason before this news even came out,” Warner said. “I feel like the team has done a great job in informing the players about the vaccine to try to help the guys feel comfortable about it.
“At the end of the day everyone makes their own decision and that’s something you got to respect."
Not only could players take a hit to their income if a game is forfeited, but the team that had the outbreak will be responsible for any revenue lost by the league and will also be credited a loss, while the opposing team will be credited with a win.
Ultimately, an outbreak of COVID-19 could affect a team’s playoff chances. If an outbreak occurs among vaccinated players, the league will assist the team(s) with the competitive and economic burden of the cancellation.