NFLPA Pushes for Daily COVID-19 Testing Amid Rising Cases Across NFLDecember 15, 2021
Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the NFL, the NFL Players Association wants to make changes to the league's testing protocols.
A tweet from the union addressed ongoing discussions with player leadership and the league about daily testing for everyone regardless of vaccination status:
The NFL decided to take away a critical weapon in our fight against the transmission of COVID-19 despite our union's call for daily testing months ago. We're talking to our player leadership & to the NFL about potential changes to the protocols so that we can complete the season. <a href="https://t.co/r14HqZ2iMC">pic.twitter.com/r14HqZ2iMC</a>
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the NFL had 75 players test positive for COVID-19 between Monday and Tuesday.
Per ESPN's Dan Graziano, the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Football Team were all entered into the NFL's enhanced protocols Monday because of coronavirus concerns.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler noted the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams have been added to the enhanced protocols group.
The Browns have placed a total of 14 players, including 11 from their 53-man roster, on the reserve/COVID-19 list in the past two days. Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper are among that group.
Before the start of the season, Browns offensive lineman and NFLPA president JC Tretter penned a letter on the NFLPA's official website explaining why daily testing for all players is essential to making it through the season:
"A weekly testing cadence doesn’t just increase the likelihood that the games suffer because players are missing from the field; it also increases the likelihood of a game being cancelled altogether. If a game gets cancelled, nobody gets paid—including the owners—for the revenues lost from that game. The players lose out, the fans lose out, and the owners lose out. It’s the worst-case scenario that we should all be actively working to avoid—and the fact that we aren’t continues to be a source of frustration for our union."
Per the agreed-upon protocols between the league and union, fully vaccinated individuals would be tested once per week and unvaccinated individuals would require daily tests.
In addition to daily testing, unvaccinated individuals would have restricted access in certain areas of team facilities and at designated times to avoid crossing paths with vaccinated individuals.
The NFL and NFLPA agreed to amend the protocols in November to include a mask mandate for all players while indoors regardless of vaccination status between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1. All organizational members were tested on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1.