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NFL Running Back Calls Out League's Vaccine Protocols

Joe Mixon running with the football.

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 13: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball in the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on September 13, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 preseason on Wednesday in a major step forward for the league. While teams and the commissioner's office won't require players to get a COVID-19 vaccine before training camp, unvaccinated individuals will be subject to further restrictions throughout the summer.

Not everybody took kindly to that aspect of the updated protocols, including Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon.

Mixon issued a series of tweets on Wednesday, sounding off about the league's decision to give unvaccinated players different restrictions than those who have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The NFLPA is 

The @NFLPA is not for the players they act like they represent us and they clearly show us different time & time again. https://t.co/fIiTZMlkwY

— ⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ (@Joe_MainMixon) June 16, 2021

">not for the players they act like they represent us and they clearly show us different time & time again,” Mixon tweeted on Wednesday. He

I thought Football was a team sport and it’s clearly being individualized by beliefs...

— ⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ (@Joe_MainMixon) June 16, 2021

">continued by saying “I thought Football was a team sport and it’s clearly being individualized by beliefs.”

He ended his Twitter tirade by saying that he respected each individual's choice on whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

"I love everybody and I show love to everyone vaccinated or not," Mixon wrote. "I RESPECT EVERYBODY who decides to get the vaccine or not. I’M NOT AGAINST EITHER! I WILL FIGHT & DIE FOR A RESPECTED DECISION.”

Whether Mixon likes it or not, the players around the league that choose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine will be subject to different protocols by the NFL. Teams have shown a commitment to public safety headed into the 2021 campaign and won't change course due to the opinions of a single individual.

The NFLPA did manage to get significant relaxations to the 2020 restrictions for the players who did get vaccinated. Those individuals will be able to return mostly to normal, which will be beneficial to each team's everyday operations.

It's highly unlikely that Mixon's rant will be the last time a player questions the league's protocols. With the NFL struggling to get its personnel vaccinated, the debate will almost certainly rage into the summer.