The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the daily activities of numerous sports tournaments, and the National Football League (NFL) is no exception.
Discussing the league’s rules regarding self-isolation and vaccination on DraftKings’ The Ross Tucker Football Podcast, Tom Pelissero, National Reporter for the NFL Network and NFL.com, explained the impact restrictions could have on the abilities of different teams and the overall outcome of the league.
Under the NFL’s rules regarding self-isolation, there is a difference between close contact and high risk close contact, introduced after the Tennessee Titans outbreak last year.
There are several boxes players must check, such as whether or not they were in contact in an unventilated area or whether or not they were within six feet of an infected individual for example.
NFL players cannot be considered a high risk close contact if they are fully vaccinated, and won’t have to self-isolate as long as they do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and stick to a mandatory eight-day testing programme.
However, if unvaccinated NFL players come into contact with an infected individual, then they are forced to miss a minimum of five days, whilst those who exhibit symptoms or provide a positive test must be isolated.
This could have a substantial impact on NFL teams, according to Pelissero, although the journalist added that the number of unvaccinated players is small.
“There are around 200 or fewer players as of now who are not fully vaccinated, the thing is some of those are really important players – some of them are quarterbacks,” he explained.
“As we know, from watching who wears a mask and who’s not, based on who’s going on the close contact protol, who’s talking about building plexi-glass around their desk in the meeting room – there are some players who are documented.
“You are running a certain level of risk medically, and certainly competitively, if you’re not fully vaccinated, and that’s what the NFL and NFLPA decided very early on to do, not to have a mandate but to educate and incetiviaise, ultimately they have got to the point of threatening punitive measures from a league level to the clubs – forfeits, guys not getting paid etc.”
Source – DraftKings YouTube Channel