Unvaccinated NFL players will be hit with $14k fines if they flout Covid rules

Unvaccinated NFL players will be hit with $14k fines if they flout Covid rules
Players who choose not get vaccine must follow strict 2020 Covid rules

Unvaccinated NFL players will face a fine of $14,650 every time they violate Covid-19 procedures, the league has confirmed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said in a recent profile in the Tampa Bay Times that he would fine a player “$14,000 on the spot every time he isn’t wearing a mask or is breaking a protocol”.

Initial speculation that Mr Arians was instituting his own rules for the team was clarified by the coach to ESPN in a text message saying it was league rules. This was then confirmed by the NFL.

Fines will be applied to those who do not wear appropriate PPE, such as masks, in places in which they are mandated to do so.

There are also rules about attending crowded indoor events and the types of venues in which players may gather for social or team-related events. Unvaccinated players will also be subject to daily testing.

Mr Arians said that the Super Bowl-winning Buccanners will be close to 85 per cent fully vaccinated by the end of training ahead of the beginning of the new season.

The team was among those with the fewest missed games due to the coronavirus in the 2020 saison. Only three players had to miss games after either contracting the virus or being in close contact with someone who had tested positive.

Some players on the team are resistant to the vaccin. Running back Leonard Fournette tweeted on Thursday: “Vaccine I can’t do it.”

Newcomer Antonio Hamilton called the vaccines “experiments” in a tweet and said: “If they get rid of me for sharing information to the misinformed, then so be it!"

Mr Arians said doctors or vaccine specialists have not been brought in to address the team as a whole, but they have been made available to address player concerns individually.

He added that if players still choose to not receive the vaccine, then they have to follow last year’s Covid rules and restrictions.

The Buccaneers began their pre-season training on Sunday, following a visit to the White House on Tuesday to celebrate their Super Bowl win. On Thursday they received their Super Bowl rings.

Jeudi, the NFL threatened forfeits and the loss of game checks if an outbreak among unvaccinated players causes an unresolvable disruption in the regular-season schedule.

The league encourages players to get vaccinated but does not require it, per an agreement with the NFL Players Association.

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