Earlier this week, the NFL despatched a memo to all 32 groups detailing its coronavirus protocols for the 2021 season. Among the many modifications this 12 months, as confirmed by CBS Sports activities NFL Insider Jonathan Jones, is that within the occasion a sport cannot be rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak that stems from unvaccinated gamers, that crew will forfeit that contest.
In keeping with ESPN.com, the league will high quality unvaccinated gamers $14,650 for every violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols, reminiscent of not carrying a masks in areas the place it’s mandated to take action, or attending a crowded, indoor occasion.
A Saturday morning report from the Tampa Bay Instances made it appear as if Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians had stated this week the crew itself could be fining unvaccinated gamers, however Arians and league spokesman Brian McCarthy later confirmed to ESPN that Arians was merely reiterating the league coverage.
Arians didn’t specify what number of Bucs gamers are vaccinated however stated the crew will meet the 85 p.c mark by the tip of coaching camp. The Bucs have been among the many groups with the fewest missed video games due to COVID-19 final season, with simply three gamers having to take a seat out after contracting the virus or being in shut contact with somebody who had accomplished so.
“It is only a matter of staying wholesome,” Arians stated. “You are not going to win with third-stringers. I have been down that street. We had a extremely, actually good crew in Arizona. We lose David Johnson, we lose Carson Palmer, we lose our deal with. You’ll be able to’t management accidents. In the event that they occur, they occur. We have been very lucky final 12 months, and our coaching workers and sports activities science workers was terrific, and that had lots to do with harm prevention.”
Arians additionally stated the Bucs haven’t introduced in any docs or vaccine specialists to handle the crew as a complete, in response to ESPN, however famous that there’s a quite easy approach for unvaccinated gamers to keep away from fines or inflicting the crew to forfeit a sport: “Simply comply with final 12 months’s guidelines.”