NFLPA Opposes NFL's COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate Proposal, Seeks Daily Testing

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 21: The NFL Logo on display during a preseason game between the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings  on August 21, 2021 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL wants a COVID-19 vaccination mandate in place for the players this season, but the league's players association is against the idea.

NFL general counsel Larry Ferazani revealed as much during a conference call Thursday, per The Athletic.

"We would love to see that mandate go into effect tomorrow," he said while denying claims from Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter that the league didn't ask for such a mandate.

From the NFLPA's perspective, it would prefer no mandate but a return to daily testing instead of the current system that sees vaccinated players tested every two weeks and unvaccinated players tested daily.

COVID-19 and the possibility of outbreaks among teams figures to be a major storyline for the 2021 campaign.

In July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams explaining they could face forfeiture of games if they cannot play because of a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players. What's more, players would not be paid on either roster if the game didn't happen for that reason.

Most of the league's players are vaccinated.

In fact, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said approximately 93 percent of players and more than 99 percent of coaches and staff members are vaccinated, per The Athletic. Sills also said COVID-19 incidence rates among unvaccinated players has been seven times higher than vaccinated ones during training camp.

The NFL did not cancel a single game because of COVID-19 despite the pandemic last season, although it had to rearrange the schedule multiple times to account for teams that were dealing with outbreaks.

The upcoming 2021 season starts Sept. 9 when the Dallas Cowboys face the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.