Cleveland Brown and NFLPA President J.C. Tretter serves as a voice for the league, not by the league. His stance against the NFL’s vaccine mandates and special gear meant to mark unvaccinated players has been a noted critique on the NFL’s disregard for players’ personal information and unique medical backgrounds.
The center for the Browns was asked for his analysis on the COVID bracelets recently assigned by NFL teams, following Thursday’s training camp.
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“It’s a nonsensical idea,” said the NFLPA representative. “They say they need a differentiator between vaccinated and unvaccinated players. We already have a differentiator. The unvaccinated players need to wear masks. No other sports league uses any sort of scarlet marking or helmet decal or wristband, because they know it’s not necessary and the teams know who’s vaccinated, who’s not vaccinated.”
Two teams have announced a COVID bracelet mandate to call out unvaccinated players during training camp: the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to guidelines set by both teams, unvaccinated players must wear their team’s designated bracelets during practice to warn others players and team staff of no inoculation. Both teams have an 80%+ rate of vaccination among their rosters, while the NFL has vaccinated nearly 88% of its players.
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Tretter joins champion of choice, Cole Beasley, who has seen scrutiny from the media over his decision to vehemently oppose overreaching COVID guidelines. While motives have been attributed to Beasley’s decision, his memo during Day 1 of training camp told of a greater hesitancy among players in the NFL — notably rookies — regarding continued restrictions imposed on unvaccinated players.
By the time the season approaches in September, teams may continue seeing a moving goal post of COVID mandates sent down by the NFL as it aims to reach 100% vaccination across the league, with a few players keen on leaving the decision to personal choice. Even if it means the end of a career.