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NFL won’t require COVID-19 vaccines but will incentivize them

Chris Simms breaks down his cornerback and safety rankings and explains why he left some big names off his list.

The NFL will not require COVID-19 vaccinations for players, coaches or staff members. But the league is encouraging vaccines, and incentives offered by the NFL will encourage (pressure?) everyone to get a shot.

The NFL sent a memo to its clubs Thursday detailing protocols for draft weekend. It is relaxing masking and distancing requirements if all individuals in the draft room are fully vaccinated.

Similar rules could apply for future activities at team facilities, incentivizing COVID-19 vaccines.

“Right up front, let me be clear: The NFL and the NFL Players Association have no intention of making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for players, coaches or staff,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, told Judy Battista of NFL Media. “What we are focusing on is education. We want everyone to have the facts, and we believe that this is an important step forward. Again, as we spoke about for the draft room experience, you’ll see vaccinated individuals be able to have certain privileges and certain precautions that are lifted that won’t apply to unvaccinated individuals. We’ll continue those discussions. Again, go where the science leads us on that. But I think we’ve got a lot to learn between now and then. But we’re really going to focus on getting that education and continuing that dialogue. We’re seeing a lot of dialogue among players, coaches and staff about vaccinations. We hope everyone gets vaccinated. That would be our hope.”

The NBA and NBA Players Association recently agreed to a new protocol that provides expanded benefits to fully vaccinated players. Fully vaccinated NBA players no longer are required to quarantine following exposure to COVID-19; they can have friends, family, and others visit without testing or registration; and they can dine outdoors at restaurants.

For NBA teams that have 85 percent of players and 85 percent of staff fully vaccinated, masks no longer are required at the practice facility and teams are given more flexibility on road trips.

The NFL has started down that path, encouraging COVID-19 vaccines, not requiring them, while making it advantageous for everyone on every team to get the shot.