Earlier today, Deandre Hopkins took the COVID vaccine debate into hyperdrive in the NFL when he tweeted a now deleted stance:
Has the NFL gone too far and overstepped their role as a league “encouraging” players to get vaccinated before the league year?
Here are the new rules for non-vaccinated players for the upcoming season:
This isn’t a vaccine mandate but it is a vaccine ultimatum.
Hopkins is not the only player to express dismay with the league’s stance on COVID inoculation but he is the highest profile.
This is about business and not about anything else.
The NFL doesn’t want to anger media partners or disrupt competitive balance as was the case last season.
Players don’t want to be told to take something they rightfully in many ways views as foreign substance into their body.
Leagues tell players all the time what they CAN”T put into their body; this is the first time a league is virtually telling players what they HAVE to put into their body.
I’d expect there to be pushback, whether it's ideological or out of principle.
But the NFL is unlikely to see any form of mass revolt from its player membership because players are not being told they can’t play if they are unvaccinated, just that they will be at a personal and at times, competitive disadvantage.
Players have the right to make their choice. If you disagree with their choice, it doesn’t make their decision any less valid. We all apply our own filters to our decision making process and what I choose to make my decisions may have very little to do with why you make yours.
I don’t begrudge Deandre Hopkins vaccine reluctance. I don’t celebrate my vaccine acceptance. I made my choice and I move on.
I'd suggest that's what everyone else, including the NFL and Deandre Hopkins, does too.