This Season, How Unvaccinated NFL Players Could Lead to Forfeitures
The NFL warned clubs on Thursday that the 2021 season would not be extended to accommodate a COVID-19 epidemic among unvaccinated players, which would result in a game cancellation.
The NFL announced in a memorandum addressed to all teams in the league that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the regular season due to a COVID epidemic involving unvaccinated players or staff, the team having the outbreak will forfeit the game and be awarded a loss for playoff seeding.
The memo further noted that any team that has a game canceled due to an epidemic caused by unvaccinated players or personnel will be accountable for financial damages and may face league commissioner penalties.
The NFL, on the other hand, will try to create exceptions for clubs who experience an outbreak among their immunized members. The league stated that it will “attempt to reduce the competitive and financial strain on both participating teams” in such an occasion.
In order to fit in a full season in 2020, the NFL was forced to reschedule games at the last minute. The league wants to make “every reasonable effort” to stick to its 272-game schedule across 18 weeks, with 17 games per club, according to the document released on Thursday. “We do not intend to introduce a ‘19th week’ to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season,” the statement continued.
The release also outlined some of the testing policies. Individual players who have been vaccinated and test positive while staying asymptomatic can resume play after two negative tests spaced 24 hours apart, according to the report.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated people are still subject to the existing regulation of a 10-day required isolation time.
The NFL has previously stated that vaccinations will not be mandated, but the memo released on Thursday gives strong incentives for not only coaches and players to get vaccinated, but also for club owners to push their personnel to do so. The onus of getting games played is entirely placed on the clubs; otherwise, outbreaks will occur.
“Under the Constitution and Bylaws, every club is required to have a team ready to play at the appointed time and location. Failure to do so is considered irresponsible behavior. There is no such thing as a correct answer. This is a condensed version of the information.