Ron Rivera 'Beyond Frustrated' with WFT Players Who Haven't Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 27, 2021

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 27: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team looks on prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at FedExField on December 27, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera is not pleased with his squad's poor vaccination rate.

"I'm truly frustrated. I'm beyond frustrated," Rivera said Tuesday, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. "Part of the reason I walk in with a mask on is I'm immune-deficient. ... I just hope that our guys can understand that."

Rivera noted he is at risk after receiving cancer treatment last year, per David Aldridge of The Athletic.

According to Jhabvala, Washington had the lowest rate in the NFL with only 60 percent of players vaccinated as of Monday. The percentage has grown since earlier this month when Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reported they were one of two teams (along with the Indianapolis Colts) with less than 50 percent of players receiving at least one shot.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported Tuesday that 85 percent of NFL players have received at least one vaccination shot. 

Rivera had previously brought in a vaccine expert in June to help inform players, but there was still pushback, including from defensive end Montez Sweat.

"I’m not a fan of it at all," Sweat said of bringing in an expert, per Sam Fortier of the Washington Post. "... I won’t get vaccinated until I get more facts."

The vaccine has proved effective in limiting serious illness with vaccinated people accounting for only 1.1 percent of total hospitalizations from COVID-19 in May, per Carla K. Johnson and Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press.

Beyond the health benefits, receiving a vaccine would help ease restrictions placed on players by the NFL. Unvaccinated players are required to undergo additional testing while they will have more limits on travel during the season.

A recent memo also noted teams would be forced to forfeit games if an outbreak leads to a cancellation.