Covid Outbreaks, according to the NFL, might result in forfeitures and lost wages.
On Thursday, the NFL issued a warning to clubs and players that Covid-19 breakouts among unvaccinated athletes in 2021 might result in forfeitures without pay for either club, as well as teams being held accountable for financial losses.
In a message to teams, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell outlined the policy for the 2017 season, which encourages players to be immunized but falls short of a mandate under the provisions of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players union.
The NFL’s pre-season training camps began this week, with the 2021 season expected to begin in September.
If a team has a Covid-19 epidemic and a game cannot be played or rescheduled during the 18-week season, the team with the outbreak forfeits the game, according to the memo’s provisions.
The team responsible for an unplayed game due to unvaccinated players or staff will be held liable for the canceled game’s financial losses as well as probable commisioner sanctions.
This action effectively forces teams to get their staff vaccinated, as the costs of an unplayed game might be significant, ranging from ticket refunds to lost league telecast money.
There will be peer pressure from teammates as well as players from other teams, who may lose their salaries if a rival team has an epidemic and forfeits a game.
According to the memo, the NFL intends to spread its 272 games out over 18 weeks, with no extra week to accommodate rescheduling.
The memo stated, “We do not foresee introducing a’19th week’ to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season.”
The changes should prevent the severe rescheduling complications that Covid-19 caused last season, such as games being played every day of the week and teams rearranging schedules to finish the season.
Unvaccinated adults must be isolated for 10 days if they test positive but are asymptomatic. Vaccinated people who test positive but are asymptomatic can resume normal activities after two negative tests 24 hours apart.
“If a game is canceled or postponed because a club is unable to play owing to a Covid surge among or resulting from its non-vaccinated players/staff, then the responsibility of the cancellation or delay will lie on the club experiencing the Covid infection,” according to the document.
“We will try to make the strain on the opposition club or clubs as little as possible. We shall try to minimize the competitive and financial hardship on both participating teams if a club is unable to compete owing to a Covid increase in vaccinated individuals.”
The NFL quotes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. Brief News from Washington Newsday.