As for the possibility of teams removing unvaccinated players, NFL sees no problem with Thursday’s note
Thursday’s jaw-dropping note from the league office to all teams was, in our opinion, meant to persuade unvaccinated players to get vaccinated. Concretely, the memo also persuades the teams to remove the players who still refuse to be vaccinated.
Whether it is the length of time that unvaccinated players are automatically barred from playing (at least 10 days), the possibility of confiscations resulting only from epidemics occurring among unvaccinated players, the expenses incurred if a match is postponed or canceled due to an outbreak among unvaccinated players, the allocation of $ 400,000 per team for testing fees (unvaccinated players are tested every day), the inescapable message of Thursday’s memo is that teams will find themselves in better competitive and financial shape if they are downgraded from 90 players to 53, they just dump as many unvaccinated players as possible.
So how does the league reconcile these clear incentives to get rid of unvaccinated players with the rule that prohibits cutting players so they don’t get vaccinated?
“I don’t see the two linked directly together,” Dawn Aponte, executive director of NFL football, said in a conference call with reporters Friday. “I think there are protocols in place for these people,” Aponte said regarding unvaccinated players, adding that COVID protocols do not restrict their ability to play and COVID protocols have not been implemented. place for these purposes.
Yet the mere fact that an epidemic among unvaccinated players could trigger a forfeit while an epidemic among vaccinated players cannot provide a clear and logical reason for teams to choose vaccinated players over unvaccinated players. While some unvaccinated players will be too good (or too expensive) to be cut, many will not. And Thursday’s memo necessarily makes vaccine status one of the different factors to consider when trimming hair while trimming the list, if it wasn’t already.
And so it will be interesting to see if a player who gets cut claims he would have secured a spot on the roster had he been vaccinated, and if he then files a grievance. As noted earlier today, Thursday’s memo will most likely become Exhibit A if / when a grievance is filed.