The 2021 NFL season kicks off in just two days, but JC Tretter is still concerned with one aspect of the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Cleveland Browns center and president of the Player’s Association released an edition of his “President’s Corner” on Tuesday, questioning the league’s decision to not go back to daily COVID-19 testing for all players. Although the vaccination rate for players is well above the national average, Tretter still believes that everyone should be required to test daily, so that breakthrough cases can be identified and dealt with.
“Despite our vaccination rates being extremely high, we have seen that the Delta variant can infect and spread among vaccinated people,” Tretter wrote. “That means, at the moment, we are in a worse spot this year than last year because the NFL has backed off a key component of our previous success: daily testing.”
Tretter continued explaining that the NFLPA has pushed for a return to daily testing for all players, regardless of vaccination status. The league countered and dropped the testing requirements for vaccinated players from 14 days to seven days, but still the NFLPA isn’t satisfied.
“Since the beginning of training camp, we have been testing our vaccinated players once every 14 days. It has been ineffective as we’ve had significantly more incidents of transmission inside the building this year than last year. The NFLPA saw this coming months ago and has been advocating for a return to daily testing because it is more effective way to stop and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our locker rooms. However, the NFL decided to move to weekly testing; and while that is a step in the right direction, it leaves us open to many of the same problems we’ve been facing.”
Two days before the 2021 NFL season kicks off, the NFLPA president writes that “we are in a worse spot this year than last year because the NFL has backed off a key component of our previous success: daily (COVID) testing.” Also says the #Titans had 14 positives last month. https://t.co/N5mGPiGTUy
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 7, 2021
The NFL managed to get through the 2020 season without having to cancel a game and hopes to do the same this fall. However, Tretter thinks that plan might be in jeopardy without daily testing.
The league may need to rethink its currently policy on testing for vaccinated players if outbreaks start to happen early on in the year. The unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 will still have an impact on this upcoming season so the NFL and NFLPA will need to work together to keep players safe, while trying to fit in every game.