DeAndre Hopkins has a big problem with the NFL's new policy of COVID-19. On Thursday, the league sent out a memo telling all 32 teams if they experience an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated players, they could be subject to forfeits in the event of a game being canceled. In a now-deleted tweet, Hopkins, a star wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, was thinking about retiring for the league after learning about the memo.
"Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the [NFL]," Hopkins wrote in the deleted tweet, per USA Today. The NFL has added an extra week to the schedule since each team will play 17 games. Last year, a few teams dealt with COVID-19 outbreaks, leading to a number of games being rescheduled. In December, an NFL game was played every day of the week. It was on Christmas week where an NFL game was played from Sunday-Friday.
"These operating principles are designed to allow us to play a full season in a safe and responsible way," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in the memo, "and address possible competitive or financial issues fairly. While there is no question that health conditions have improved from last year, we cannot be complacent or simply assume that we will be able to play without interruption - either due to Covid outbreaks among our clubs or outbreaks that occur within the larger community. These principles are intended to help inform decisions, recognizing that, as in 2020, we will need to remain flexible and adapt to possibly changing conditions."
According to the Associated Press, the Cardinals were one of the four teams that have not passed the threshold of 50% of their players being vaccinated last week. USA Today said that those four teams are past that mark now, and overall, 78% of the league's players have received at least one shot of the vaccine.
Hopkins is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He was traded to the Cardinals in March 2020 after spending seven seasons with the Houston Texans. In his first season with the Cardinals, Hopkins caught 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns. He was named to the fifth Pro Bowl and to the All-Pro Team for the fifth time.