NFLPA president JC Tretter called on the NFL to resume daily COVID-19 testing among players for the 2021 season.
Tretter wrote that the Delta variant's spread has led to an increase in cases compared to last season:
Despite our vaccination rates being extremely high, we have seen that the Delta variant can infect and spread among vaccinated people. That means, at the moment, we are in a worse spot this year than last year because the NFL has backed off a key component of our previous success: daily testing.
Since the beginning of training camp, we have been testing our vaccinated players once every 14 days. It has been ineffective as we’ve had significantly more incidents of transmission inside the building this year than last year. The NFLPA saw this coming months ago and has been advocating for a return to daily testing because it is more effective way to stop and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our locker rooms. However, the NFL decided to move to weekly testing; and while that is a step in the right direction, it leaves us open to many of the same problems we’ve been facing.
The NFL was previously testing vaccinated players once every 14 days but increased that to once per week amid rising cases in the United States and inside NFL locker rooms. The league has also placed heavy restrictions on unvaccinated individuals, forcing them to socially distance from their teammates and wear masks at all times.
Unvaccinated players are tested daily. Tretter says transmission within team facilities has been higher because vaccinated individuals, who are far less likely to transmit and carry COVID-19 but still can do so, are not tested often enough.
"We have seen scenarios like these happen multiple times over the last month. Recently, Tennessee finished up with 14 positives—and the team was 97% vaccinated at that time." Tretter wrote. "It’s not hard to realize how devastating that would be during a week of the regular season. Yet, incidents like this have flown under the radar because players missing training camp practices or preseason games isn’t big news. That will not be the case moving forward and a few teams are already without, or at risk of being without, key starters heading into this opening weekend."