The NFL and NFLPA agreed on terms, and slight modifications have been added to the COVID-19 protocols. On Tuesday, the entire roster of teams was informed, but nothing has stated a change in mask requirements for unvaccinated players.
However, the memo did reiterate that players must follow the requirements that adhere to cases inside club facilities.
“Clubs are reminded that any individual who is not fully vaccinated is required to wear a mask at all times when inside the club facility. This includes while giving media interviews or participating in media briefings conducted indoors either at the club facility or at the stadium on game day,” the memo read. “Individuals who are not fully vaccinated may conduct media interviews outdoors or in the practice bubble without wearing a mask, provided that physical distancing is maintained at all times.”
Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers avoided the use of masks even when attending press conferences, which has subsequently sparked the topic back into conversation following a positive COVID-19 test for Rodgers was revealed last week.
Hydration practises have also been revamped within the protocols, allowing teams to hydrate multiple players using the same water bottle, so long as the water is squirted into players’ mouths without the bottle coming in contact with them.
Additionally, the memo said that fully vaccinated team members must undergo bye week re-entry testing when having a minimum of three days off.
Of course, COVID-19 related incidents involving high-profile stars will put players such as Aaron Rodgers under mountainous scrutiny.
Rodgers has been fined $14,500, and his team received $300,000 for violating the protocol. In hindsight, a player of Rodgers calibre taking home a $33.5 million salary isn’t a reflection of the NFL’s disgust. This amount was agreed on by the NFL Players Association and the league when the initial policies and protocols were established during the pandemic.
With that said, a more vital message could be sent if another major violation occurs – a possible suspension of up to four games.
Considering this news, we’re undoubtedly going to see a returning Rodgers who’ll play by the rules. Keeping a mask on during indoor press conferences will be the only difference, which shouldn’t trouble the QBs beliefs to the extent that he’ll risk a season damaging suspension. Within meetings, meals, and other contact points within the team’s facility will remain unknown unless the Packers want to dog themselves out.
Unfortunately for Rodgers, the paparazzi will be keeping a close eye on his future actions. Outside of the team facility, he’ll need to follow the COVID-19 protocols that prevent unvaccinated players from attending gatherings without a mask or social distancing rules. Basically, should Rodgers want to participate in festivities, the protocols will need to be abided by.
Rodgers will miss this Sunday’s game, a factor that should be noted by NFL handicappers when deciding on their NFL picks for the Packers as they’ll be playing without their leading quarterback. When placing your online wagers, it’s imperative to know if the best performing squad members are fielding the game as key players can often affect the anticipated outcome.
It’s easy to point fingers, but the NFL’s inconsistency with compliance should shift some of the blame onto the league. If you’re going to allow teams to police themselves, it should be expected that key players aren’t going to receive the harshest punishments, which will often result in unfollowed rules.
The Packers have unquestionably ignored specific details surrounding the situation; the acceptable amount speaks volumes towards this. However, they’ve been warned; it’s not just the players who’re at risk of intense scrutiny should future violations arise.
The history of repeat violations should be enough warning for Green Bay. In 2020, New Orleans was fined $700,000 and lost a sixth-round pick for the multiple offenses they made. In Las Vegas, it was another sixth-round pick docked and an $800,000 fine.
The stature and skill of Rodgers’ is naturally allowing more focus on his name, as expected. And you can’t blame his team and fans alike for looking the other way – he’s a crucial figure within their potential success.
"I'm not an anti-vaxx, flat-earther.. I have an allergy to an ingredient that's in the mRNA vaccines. I found a long term immunization protocol to protect myself & I'm very proud of the research that went into that" ~@AaronRodgers12#PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/FDMmI5rZmO
— 🅿️at McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 5, 2021
The good news is, Rodgers is still receiving support from close family members.
“I think some of the people that are haters, I think if they listen to the show, I think he stated things very eloquently and very directly and succinctly,” Ed Rodgers said, who is the father of Arron Rodgers.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure why people think he misled anybody. I think he tried to probably treat himself naturally, like a lot of folks do. And there’s a lot of great natural things out there, which help mitigate the virus. So, I’m proud of him. I’m proud that he went that route.”