Leonard Fournette was one of the numerous NFL players to voice their discomfort over the league's pressure on getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
After commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to each team discussing possible forfeitures and a loss of game checks in response to COVID-19 outbreaks created by unvaccinated personnel, Fournette sent a tweet that was quickly deleted but made a clear point.
"Vaccine I can’t do it," Fournette tweeted.
Fournette was asked about vaccinations following the first day of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp on Sunday, sharing his goals to further educate himself about the immunization.
“I don’t know too much about it,” Fournette said, via Pewter Report. “Coach respects our decisions as players, so I was happy that they accepted it. And like I said, I’m focused on football season.”
Said coach - head coach Bruce Arians - has been a vocal proponent of the vaccination throughout the offseason and has encouraged the Buccaneers to get the shot. The team held a vaccination drive at the beginning of June, where Arians optimistically shared his goal of meeting the 85 percent vaccination threshold before the season begins. He emphasized that goal in a more recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
Why Fournette isn't more informed about the vaccine at this time is unknown - the shot has been available since January and shots have been put in arms widespread across the country for several months. The NFL, and specifically the Buccaneers, have focused on educating personnel about inoculation for some time.
Fournette suggested his concern that individuals can still test positive for COVID-19 after receiving the injection on Sunday. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky reported last Friday that 97 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated patients; Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested that 99 percent of COVID-19 related deaths are among the unvaccinated at this time, as well.
Fournette plans to continue evaluating his vaccination decision in the near future, and is confident that Arians has his back no matter what the fifth-year pro decides to do.
“In about a week I’m going to talk to them and see the best decision for myself and for the team,” Fournette said. “I know a lot of people who got the shots and are still getting Corona. I’m just taking it day-by-day, I’m taking it up with the medical doctors trying to figure out what’s best for myself and the team. The biggest thing is that the coaches respect our decision. We’re men, he said he’s with us, whatever we want to do. Just don’t get the team sick.”
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