Bears' Jimmy Graham Says He 'Was Basically Forced into Getting the Vaccine'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 5, 2021

LAKE FOREST, IL - JULY 29: Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham (80) looks on in action during the Chicago Bears training camp on July 29, 2021 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, IL.  (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham pushed back against the NFLPA's suggestion of increased testing for individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 in a pair of tweets Thursday.

Graham said he was "basically forced into getting the vaccine" but now feels like he's being "punished" under new proposals.

Jimmy Graham @TheJimmyGraham

I’ve done everything I’ve been asked and now Feel like I’m being punished. If I miss a test that your proposing everyday I’ll be fined a max 150k! How does this make sense. How’s the punishment 100x worse than last year and I’m vaccinated now? <a href="https://t.co/ZViL4zOP5K">https://t.co/ZViL4zOP5K</a>

It is worth noting these suggestions are coming from the union, rather than the NFL. The union has been consistent in its push for the league to prioritize safety by maximizing the amount of testing and COVID-19 safety protocols for players.

It's unclear if the NFL will accept the proposals made by the union. The league has implemented strong restrictions on unvaccinated individuals, forcing them to be separate from vaccinated teammates and wear masks at all times.

Vaccinated players are allowed to practice and congregate without masks. 

The NFL sent a memo in late July detailing potential team-wide punishments if unvaccinated players cause delays or cancellations of games. The league said it has no plans on expanding the regular season to accommodate scheduling issues caused by the unvaccinated, which could lead to players forfeiting games and their game checks. 

Teams can also face fines if an outbreak is caused by the unvaccinated.

The Delta variant, a strain of COVID-19 the CDC has noted as having "increased transmissibility," has led to nationwide increases in caseloads and hospitalizations. Several major cities have either re-implemented mask mandates or are considering doing so. 

New York City announced people will need to show proof of vaccination to enter bars, gyms and several other indoor facilities from Aug. 16. Similar mandates are already in place in other countries like Italy and France.

While the Delta variant has led to more cases, COVID-19 vaccination remains highly effective at preventing serious disease and death. Infection rates are also significantly lower among the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated.

Several NFL players have been outspoken regarding their hesitation to vaccinate, but they are a significant minority. The NFL says 90 percent of players have been vaccinated.