Teams and players within the NFL now have another reason to disagree with each other due to a recent change with the Covid 19 policy. On August 30th, the NFLPA made an official change to the Covid policy moving the usual 14 day test requirements up to once a week for vaccinated players.

Some players and coaches expressed their agreeance with the rule, but it was also met with backlash from others. When talking about the new regulations, super bowl winning head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bruce Arians stated, “I was fine with the other protocols. If your team is 100% vaccinated, I don’t know why you have to test at all.” Arians main concern about new NFLPA protocols? Players missing time because of false positives or mild symptoms.

Another debate revived by the protocol changes is whether players and coaches should have to be vaccinated at all. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley was first to make waves in the topic when he openly expressed his anti-vaccination views on social media, early into the vaccine’s release.

 More recently, Beasley and his fellow Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie were fined approximately $14,000 each after breaking mask mandates for unvaccinated players. McKenzie later posted a tweet with the picture of the fine adding, “They got me!” and “@NFL you win!”

On the other hand, many members of the NFLPA as well as the NFL’s chief medical officer Dr. Alan Sills has praised the vaccine for what it has been able to do. Sills said this about the vaccine in an article on ESPN, “We already have enough data to say that vaccinated people are not transmitting in a way that leads to widespread outbreaks because we’re not seeing the kind of outbreaks we saw last year.”

 Countless other NFL players have sited their reason for getting the vaccine as the competitive advantage it brings. This competitive advantage comes from the less frequent testing and shorter quarantine times for positive test and close contacts compared to unvaccinated players who face much harsher regulations. With vaccination rates in the NFL reaching the mid to high ninety percent range, the NFLPA is hoping to keep the players safe and the football season going with the help of the vaccine.

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