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Mac Jones also declines to discuss vaccine status

Mike Florio and Chris Simms evaluate the Patriots' quarterback situation between Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones and express why Jones is unlikely to start over Newton, despite his ability to make quick decisions.

Cam Newton isn’t the only Patriots quarterback who declined to discuss his vaccination status.

Mac Jones did, too, via

“Yeah, I think in terms of our team, everyone has their personal choice, and we’re all just trying to make the right decision to keep everyone protected,” Jones said. “And we all want to play. So, it’s kind of a personal thing. I think a lot of guys on our team are, and that’s a good thing. And we’re going to keep moving forward. It’s made it a lot easier to go about the day. . . . But, like I said, that’s a personal choice. It’s up to the players.”

The potential difference between Newton and Jones comes from whether they are seen wearing masks. Multiple training-camp photos show Newton wearing a mask. Jones is not seen wearing a mask in any photos available through our arrangement with Getty and USA Today.

Given the NFL’s protocols, this suggests that Newton is not vaccinated and that Jones is.

So back to the original point. Newton, if he isn’t vaccinated, is running the risk of becoming unavailable to the team for five days (for a close contact) or 10 days (for a positive test). Jones, if vaccinated, operates under a different set of rules, with less frequent testing (for now), a shorter mandatory absence if testing positive, and no absence at all for close contact with an infected person. Jones, thanks to his apparent personal choice to be vaccinated, is in position to benefit from Newton’s apparent personal choice to not be vaccinated.

Regardless of who is and isn’t vaccinated, it’s not a personal matter. It’s a public-health crisis that currently is getting worse, in large part because of the unvaccinated. It’s fair game for everyone -- especially those who are public figures and whose employment hinges on availability -- to be asked these questions and to answer them.