Sam Darnold had some interesting remarks about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. While speaking to reporters this week, the Carolina Panthers quarterback said he had not gotten the vaccine yet. And based on his recent comments, it's possible Darnold won't get the vaccine altogether.
“There’s a ton of different things that go into it,” Darnold said. “I’m gonna evaluate that on my own and make the best decision that I feel is the best for myself.” In May, the NFL announced changes to its COVID-19 protocols due to the vaccine. Fully vaccinated players will no longer be tested daily, will not have to wear masks at team facilities and not have to quarantine after exposure to a COVID-positive individual. The players also have no travel restrictions and can eat in the team cafeteria.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule was asked about vaccinations and said he's not going to persuade anyone to get or not get the vaccine. "It's fair to say I don't tell anyone what to do," Rhule said. "It's their personal decision. As with any topic in life, I always say do your research, but do it from the right sources. Talk to doctors, talk to your doctors, talk to our doctors. And obviously, making sure our guys know the difference between being vaccinated and unvaccinated. There are differences in the protocols, and there will be differences in training camp. My job is to give people information and let them make decisions. Not much beyond that."
The vaccinations are playing a part in COVID-19 cases dropping significantly, but Darnold isn't the only player who is not in a rush to get the shot. "I'm not a fan of it," Washington Football Team defensive end Montez Sweat said, "I probably won't get vaccinated until I get more facts and all that type (of) stuff. I'm not a fan of it at all."
In April, the NFL sent out a memo to all 32 teams stating that Tier 1 and 2 employees, (excluding players) "should be expected to be vaccinated unless they have a bona fide medical or religious ground for not doing so." Those who don't get vaccinated without a medical or religious reason "will not be permitted access to the 'football only' restricted area and may not work directly or in close proximity with players."