In most years, teams evaluate players based on talent, performance and commitment to the game. This year, head coaches like Urban Meyer are taking a player’s vaccination status into consideration.
Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars joined the rest of the NFL on Tuesday in making cuts to trim the roster down to 53 players. In doing so, Meyer and Jaguars GM Trent Baalke took a player’s vaccination status into account.
“Everyone was considered,” Meyer said, via ESPN.com. “That was part of the [considerations such as] production, let’s start talking about this, and also is he vaccinated or not? Can I say that that was a decision maker? It was certainly in consideration.”
This isn’t much of a surprise. It’s plausible most, if not all, teams and coaching staffs considered whether a player was worth keeping around if he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19.
Jaguars’ HC Urban Meyer said his team considered players’ vaccination status in today’s final cuts:https://t.co/AN1zgIANHM
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2021
Urban Meyer’s comment caught the notice of the NFLPA Tuesday evening. The NFLPA will reportedly be opening an investigation based on Meyer’s comment.
NFLPA comment to PFT on Jaguars coach Urban Meyer admitting vaccination status was a factor in roster cuts: “These comments have led us to open an investigation.”
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 1, 2021
The NFL does not mandate players to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But the league has implemented stricter protocols for unvaccinated players while giving more freedom to those who have gotten a shot(s).
The NFLPA, meanwhile, will defend players who are evaluated based on things outside of football. Urban Meyer could be in trouble for openly admitting roster decisions were made with vaccination statuses in mind.
Teams and coaches aren’t supposed to hold it against players if they are unvaccinated. The reality is most probably do, they just wouldn’t admit it like Meyer did.