NFL, NFLPA Release Updated COVID-19 Protocols, Challenges for Unvaccinated Players

As reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the NFL and NFLPA have released updated COVID-19 protocols which paint a stark picture for life in the NFL who are vaccinated compared to those who are not.
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Teams are encouraging players to be vaccinated from COVID-19 and head coaches like Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns have called it a competitive advantage. Given the updated COVID-19 protocols that show the difference between life for players that are vaccinated versus those that aren't is pretty striking.

Many of these aspects are pretty well known and provide inconveniences when players are in the facility. However, maybe the more challenging aspects for players are what they cannot do when they aren't.

Travel restrictions. If they live out of state, not only are players unable to travel home, but they have to check in every day to get tested.

No social/media/marketing sponsorship activities permitted. This is a huge problem for big name players, some of which have come out and said they either aren't or at least are not sure about their decision to get vaccinated. They are now forfeiting money through marketing opportunities.

And when they travel on the road for games, they cannot leave the hotel. Teammates who are vaccinated can go to restaurants or other activities and unvaccinated players are unable to leave the hotel.

In addition to the normal pressures for why players would get to be vaccinated, they now may have things like family pressure so they can visit them during their bye week or go for holidays. They have financial pressures.

Baker Mayfield has a number of national brand deals, which makes him the most obvious for the marketing issue, but there are a number of players that have local marketing deals in and around Cleveland for local car dealerships for example. 

The Browns, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network, are over 50 percent of their 90-man roster for being somewhere in the vaccination process. There is still a to be determined benefit for hitting an 85 percent mark as a team in terms of relaxing restrictions further, but it's unclear what form that will take.

All of this points to the fact why teams are pushing to get players vaccinated, because in addition to eliminating the possibility for positive tests forcing players to miss time, it makes operating on a daily basis easier. They have to account for all of these issues for players that are unvaccinated.

READ MORE: Browns Progressing Towards Vaccination Benchmark