As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the sports world, the NFL, as well as individual teams, are trying to keep players, coaches, and fans healthy. Many teams and individual players, such as Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, are advocating for the COVID-19 vaccine and stressing the importance of vaccination.
Some players are adamantly against receiving the vaccine, so much so that some players have stated they would retire if the NFL made the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory. However, those players don’t seem to be in the majority, as several teams in the league have met or exceeded the league’s 85% vaccination threshold. And one of those teams is the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seattle Seahawks are protecting their quarterback from COVID-19
After New England Patriots quarterback, Cam Newton, tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2020, the Seahawks ramped up their health precautions to protect Wilson. The Seahawks have been setting the example for the league in terms of COVID-19 protocols and safety measures to keep the whole team healthy. In fact, the Seahawks were the only NFL team that did not have a single confirmed COVID-19 case during the 2020 season. And Wilson seems to be a major factor in that success, due to his leadership within the team. Coach Pete Carroll even commented that “there’s nobody more diligent about wearing his mask than Russell.”
Is Russell Wilson vaccinated?
In April, Wilson and his wife Ciara, hosted an hour-long special, “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” to increase awareness and education regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, as reported by the NFL. Chief Medical Advisor to the President Anthony Fauci, the top public health figure in the country, was interviewed by Matthew McConaughey. President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as several professional athletes and Hollywood stars, also participated.
With Russell Wilson being so outspoken about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is not surprising that he himself is vaccinated. In fact, according to Sports Illustrated, the Seahawks lead the league with an incredible 99% vaccination rate.
The NFL is trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, while protecting the players’ privacy
The NFL is being diligent in enforcing masking requirements and testing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated players. However, according to CNBC, the Tennessee Titans had a mini outbreak during training camp in July, with nine people, including head coach Mike Vrabel, testing positive. Because of the surge of the Delta variant, the NFL is looking to mandate vaccination among players. NFL team owners are also threatening to impose forfeits, as well as fines for players and teams if games are postponed due to COVID-19.
The NFL is currently negotiating with the NFL Player’s Association, which is proposing daily testing for all players, and is reporting that the league is open to mandated vaccinations. Currently, with regards to testing, vaccinated players are tested every 14 days, while unvaccinated players are required to be tested every day, including off days and during their team’s bye week. Masking is required indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated players, and a maximum of 75 non-player staff members are allowed in a traveling party.
While the topic of mandatory vaccination for players remains a touchy one for some people, others embrace it. In fact, some people have raised the question of whether the NFL should suspend players who refuse to get vaccinated or follow the league’s COVID-19 policies. And while that might seem harsh, it may be the most effective way of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the NFL. Regardless, Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are setting the example for the league.