By ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer
The NFL says 93% of players are vaccinated against COVID-19 and the league wanted mandatory vaccination, but the NFLPA refused to agree.
The league has also asked the players’ union to adjust the protocols so that vaccinated players are tested weekly instead of every 14 days. Unvaccinated players are tested daily.
NFLPA President JC Tretter, a center for the Cleveland Browns, said earlier this week the decision not to make vaccination compulsory had been made by the league. But league officials denied this claim.
“We discussed compulsory vaccinations from the start,” said Larry Ferazani, deputy general counsel of the NFL, on Thursday. “In fact, we took the lead and required staff and coaches to be vaccinated in order to have access to a player. From that point on we started beating the drum for (the NFLPA experts) also the best way to protect the players and staff, which is to achieve 100 percent vaccination protection. That was our wish and we would be delighted if this mandate comes into force tomorrow. “
NFL officials also don’t have a vaccination mandate.
The league reported 68 positive cases from 7,190 people tested between August 1 and August 21. The incidence rate of 0.95% is lower than most communities.
Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said almost all cases were the Delta variant. He said people who were vaccinated had very mild upper respiratory tract disease of shorter duration. Sills also said none of the players who tested positive had to be hospitalized.
Regarding the daily testing, Sills said, “Testing is not prevention.”
“It’s part of our mitigation strategy, but not the key,” he said. “Tests alone will not get us through this surge.”
The NFL said 120 players received written warnings, 25 of which were fined for violating a mask or tracking device.
Under the rules of the league, the first violation of the protocols will result in a fine of $ 14,650. Repeated violations can result in a player being suspended or fined for a week.
More AP-NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.