Nick Canepa: Goodell, NFL take stand on vaccines ... and get it right

Nick Canepa, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Football

"Players can make their choices but they cannot choose their consequences."

— Dr. David Chao


SAN DIEGO — The National Football League has quit tiptoeing through its two lips on the COVID-19 issue and put down its extra large Gucci loafer.

With so many of its players unvaccinated, The League, unlike 2020, is threatening forfeits — and the all-important loss of paychecks — if a COVID-19 outbreak among those without the vaccines leads to the 2021 regular season being thrown into disarray.

Commissioner Roger Goodell can't force players to get shots because of a union agreement, but he can try to inject some common sense into their heads by poking them where it hurts the most — in the wallet.


It's not very often I agree with the NFL, which puts bank first — it's incredibly good at — and image, where it fails all too often but always lands softly on the dollar pillow — second. I do here.

In a Thursday memo, Goodell wrote that 80% of the players were fully or partially vaccinated and more than 50% of the teams have shot rates 80% or above (by the way, the NFL Team That Used To Be Here is one of four clubs not at 50%).

Thus, unvaccinated players will undergo daily testing and must wear masks during the pre and regular seasons. They'll be fined $14,650 for every break in protocol. On the spot. So they will be made to feel like outcasts.

It won't be like 2020. Games likely aren't going to be rescheduled. Teams are going to forfeit.


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