The NFL being the first American sports league to drop its COVID-19 protocols, should come as a surprise to anyone.
This news should please the likes of Cole Beasley, Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, and any other player who still refuses to get vaccinated. Per NPR, both the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to drop the COVID-19 protocols for the 2022 NFL Season effective immediately.
In a memo released Thursday (Mar.3) by the league and player’s association announcing the suspension of the protocols, players and staff will no longer be subjected to mandatory testing conducted by the NFL. The league states it made its decision based on “encouraging trends regarding the prevalence and severity of COVID-19, the evolving guidance from the CDC, changes to state law and the counsel of our respective experts.”
The dropping of the protocols also means players and staff will no longer have to wear masks while at team facilities regardless of their vaccination status, giving teams the option to decide if they want to enforce mask rules or not. The league will now put the responsibility of monitoring themselves “on a daily basis” before entering any NFL facility, the memo states. If a player or staff member is experiencing symptoms, they must report it to the team and present a negative COVID-19 test. Anyone that tests positive must isolate away from the team for five days after their initial test.
The league says it will continue to “prioritize the health and safety of players, coaches, and staff,” as they did during the onset of the pandemic. “Should there be a reason to reimpose aspects of the Protocols or to take other measures, we will work closely with clubs, the NFLPA, and our respective experts, and local, state and federal public health officials to continue to safeguard the health of the NFL community,” the NFL said int the memo.
Teams are still required to be “in compliance with state and local law” and “free to continue reasonable measures to protect their staff and players.”
Is this is a sign that the world is moving out of the pandemic phase and into the endemic phase? Only time will tell, but the pandemic is over based on the NFL and NFLPA’s decision.
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