NFL teams are hoping their players and coaches are vaccinated so COVID-19 protocols can be relaxed, but like many in society, there are those in the league wary of the vaccine.
Much of that is because of the trove of outlandish stories that often circulate on social media, including one that claims getting the vaccine will turn our bodies into magnets so metal objects will stick. Yes — there are people that believe it.
Some teams, including Washington, have brought in outside experts to answer the concerns of players. As head coach Ron Rivera said, “There’s a lot of messaging out there that they get off Twitter, and some of it’s good and some of it’s bad.”
Of course, no amount of guidance can effectively deal with someone like Washington defensive end Montez Sweat, who first claimed he wouldn’t get vaccinated “until I get more facts” and then actually said he simply doesn’t want to be vaccinated because “I haven’t caught COVID, so I don’t see me treating COVID until I actually get COVID.”
Perhaps he should just go to the dictionary to learn the obvious fact that a vaccine isn’t used to treat a disease; it’s designed to prevent it.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians had a great answer when he was asked if he would bring in a vaccine specialist. “I’m the specialist,” he said. “If you wanna go back to normal, get vaccinated. Eighty-five percent is what we’re shooting for. It’s still a personal choice, but I don’t see a reason not to be vaccinated.”
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury claimed he didn’t know how many of his coaches or players have been vaccinated.
“I don't have a percentage on either,” he said Thursday. “I haven't really been keeping track of it daily, anything like that. But, each player, it's a personal choice. We understand that. Our biggest thing — and (head trainer) Tom Reed’s done a tremendous job — is just making sure coaches and players are educated on it and can make smart decisions.”
When asked if the team had brought in an outside expert to refute much of the misinformation that is out there, Kingsbury chuckled and said, “They have been overly educated, if that is possible on the vaccine. So I feel like Tom Reed, like I mentioned, and our medical staff has done a tremendous job of making sure these guys feel very confident and comfortable if they were to receive the vaccine.”