While the pandemic isn’t nearly as bad as it was a year ago at this time, it is certainly not over yet so the 2021 NFL season will still have some restrictions in place.
It was recently revealed that some of those restrictions include teams not being able to postpone games for coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks brought on by unvaccinated players. A number of games were rescheduled last season, but now that the vaccine is ready and available for everyone, the league is incentivizing teams who take it while those who don’t may have to forfeit a game if there’s an outbreak.
The Los Angeles Rams were one of the better teams when it came to dealing with COVID-19 last season and it appears that is still the case.
Sean McVay revealed at the start of training camp that the roster is almost 100% vaccinated, via Cameron DaSilva of USA Today:
“I’m not going to get into the exact numbers, but we are really close to having 100% of our players having the vaccination,” McVay said. “Some of those guys are in the process of getting that started within the last week. Les, Reggie Scott, Casandra Garcia, they’ve done such a good job of helping give guys the opportunity to understand where we’re coming from, but you do want to be understanding and respectful of everybody has an individual approach that resonates with me and where you want to be empathetic to why they may feel good or why they might have concerns, but our guys have done a good job of trying to educate us on their perspective and we’ve gotten close to 100% of our guys that are committed to doing that, which is good.”
Even though the league is essentially making it mandatory to be vaccinated, McVay is not forcing his players to do so:
“If certain guys feel adamant that they don’t want to, totally respect and understand that,” he said. “But for me as a coach, you want to be understanding of it. But what it does do is it eliminates some of the things you naturally have to navigate through with the obstacles that are in place whether you are or aren’t. Some of the protocols that we have to follow. Feel like we’re in a really good place and it’s not going to be any reason for it to be a distraction for our team.”
Jalen Ramsey recently echoed McVay’s sentiment, saying he wouldn’t look at a player as a bad teammate if they don’t get vaccinated.
Considering the potential consequences at stake though, it is definitely a positive sign hearing that the Rams roster is almost fully vaccinated. L.A. has Super Bowl aspirations in 2021 and considering how strong the NFC West is, they can’t afford to be giving away games because of a COVID-19 outbreak.