The NFL has gone to great lengths to pressure players and personnel into getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and Arizona Cardinals star DeAndre Hopkins says the league’s approach has him questioning whether he wants to continue playing.
The NFL issued a memo to teams on Thursday informing them that COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players could lead to the forfeiture of games. Not long after, Hopkins revealed on Twitter that he is not vaccinated and doesn’t appreciate the position he has been put in, though he later deleted the tweet:
DeAndre Hopkins has deleted this tweet, but we all now know how he feels. pic.twitter.com/wH0Lznt1hA— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) July 22, 2021
Hopkins likely is not the only player who feels that way. While the NFL is not technically requiring players to get vaccinated, there is essentially an unofficial mandate in place. The league already has different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players. Those who are vaccinated have received more freedom and are not under as strict protocol.
Now, unvaccinated players are being made to feel like they could potentially cost their teams wins. With the rules in place, teams that are unable to make up games due to COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players can be forced to forfeit. There could also be other sanctions like fines or the loss of draft picks. If a game is forfeited, players on both sides would not earn their game checks.
A recent report also claimed the NFL is exploring ways to visually mark players who are not vaccinated.
Some will argue that finding ways to force people to get vaccinated is the safe thing to do. Others would say it is a gross violation of privacy. It’s safe to say Hopkins falls under the latter umbrella.