NFL’s vaccine crackdown
Last season was a trainwreck with COVID testing and positive tests forcing teams to reschedule games. During the 2020 season, 18 NFL games were postponed due to outbreaks within the team. Roger Goddell and the board are trying to get ahead of the schedule headache this season.
Since the vaccine has become readily available for most adults, the NFL is encouraging vaccination among all of its players. However, the line between encouraged and required has gotten blurry. The new protocol states that if a game is forfeited due to a COVID outbreak, athletes on both teams would fail to receive a paycheck that week. In addition, the team who forced the forfeit via COVID outbreak would be responsible for covering the cost of revenue that the NFL lost that week.
The new rules set in place seem harsh, but also necessary. The NFL is simply trying to avoid the 18 rescheduled games fiasco they endured last season. Who could blame them? But at the same time, it no longer appears that having the vaccine would be optional for these players. Many players have spoken out to call attention to the ethics of the new policy, with valid reason.
New NFL COVID policy has DeAndre Hopkins questioning his future pic.twitter.com/UNTk4YNG1A— PFF (@PFF) July 22, 2021
Both sides are in a tough position, but at the end of the day the NFL believes this is the only way to ensure smooth sailing this season.
The 2020 season has caused uproar for many teams who use a logo, mascot, or name that could be considered offensive. The Washington Football Team, formerly the Redskins, is a prime example of rebranding caused by national debate. The MLB’s Cleveland Indians also triggered national discussion, which has led the team to a rebranding moment of their own.
Fans found out via social media that the team will now go by the Guardians.
Clevelands namesake was inspired by 2 statues on the Ohio bridge, which the state refers to as ‘traffic guardians’. Paul Dolan, the team’s owner, is excited for the new direction this name could lead the team down. Dolan explained that the new name holds more meaning to the community, and should promote inclusivity.
‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ is a phrase Oklahoma and Texas seem to have taken too seriously. News broke two days ago that the teams are considering moving to the SEC, which would not only solidify them as the strongest conference in College Football, but it would also create a ridiculous 16 team conference. While this has become the current talk of college football on all major sports networks, the news is technically still rumored. Both Texas and Oklahoma have declined to comment on the move, but analysts are holding onto the fact that the teams also failed to deny the rumor.
Personally, I think the transition to the SEC seems abrupt. I could understand teams wanting more competition in the regular season to be prepared for the talent seen in the playoffs and bowl games, but I simply don’t think creating a mega-conference is the right answer.
What would this mean for the Big 12? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but without Texas and Oklahoma the Big 12 conference becomes weak. This is why TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State have expressed their disapproval.
Instead of poaching other teams, the conferences should work together to even out the talent and competition. In turn, this could make the CFP more competitive across conferences, rather than a constant SEC domination.