The NFL wants to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, but is that legal? And just what kind of pushback could they face from players who don’t want to take part?
I’d like to preface this article with the following, simple facts: I am vaccinated, and per the advice of this country’s medical experts, you should be too if you can be.
However, not everyone feels the same way. Specifically, many professional athletes have gone against the advice of said medical professionals, and would rather risk infection to themselves and others than get vaccinated. Legally, that is their choice to make.
Privately, however, the company they work for — the NFL — could make their lives very difficult for making said choice. Kirk Cousins, for one, is front and center in this argument.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins isn’t vaccinated, and doesn’t plan on it
Adam Patrick of The Viking Age laid out the issues Cousins could have moving forward, especially as the NFL tries to mandate the vaccine league-wide.
“During a conference call on Thursday, NFL general counsel Larry Ferazani said that the league has been trying to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for players and that the NFL would, “love to see that mandate go into effect tomorrow,” if they could, according to NFL Media’s Tom Peliserro.
If the league is able to figure out a way to mandate the vaccine for players, it could have a tremendous impact on the amount of success Minnesota is able to have in 2021.”
That success is tied directly to Cousins and the quarterback room.
What’s separating the NFL from laying down the law is an agreement with the NFLPA, and the potential of a boycott of sorts from players who would rather not be vaccinated. Several high-profile players, including Cousins, have not been vaccinated, so a league mandate could have a very real impact on the final on-field product if they sit out.
So, for now, an agreement with the NFLPA is separating the league from handing down such a verdict. It’s unknown where the two sides are in discussions, or if it’s even been brought up at this juncture.