Unquestionably the biggest NFL story of the week came Thursday when word went public the league can make teams forfeit and can also withhold pay if clubs cannot play any game, as scheduled, because of a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated personnel.
Stars such as Arizona Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins took to Twitter to complain about the news, but it seems the National Football League Players Association approves of the decree.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, an email sent to union members Thursday in response to the memo reads: "We remind you that the same basic rules applied last year."
Unsurprisingly, the NFLPA is spot on. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell threatened last October to strip teams of draft picks and potentially force forfeits of games for violations of the league's coronavirus-related protocols.
"The only difference this year is the NFL’s decision to impose additional penalties on clubs which are responsible for the outbreak and the availability of proven vaccines," the NFLPA continued Thursday. "The protocols we jointly agreed to helped get us through a full season last year without missing game checks and are effective, when followed."
NFL Media's Judy Battista reported Thursday that over 78% of all NFL players have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. The NFL and NFLPA aren't mandating players be vaccinated to participate in the upcoming campaign, but PFT notes:
Here's the reality. In any union, the majority rules. In the NFLPA, the majority of the players already have gotten vaccinated. So that's that.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 22, 2021