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Does Clemson have a shot at a National Championship? Absolutely. Will coach Dabo Swinney mandate that his Tigers get a COVID vaccine? No shot. With the team hovering around an 85 percent vaccination rate, Sweeney has no intention of pushing the remaining 15 percent towards a vaccination: “It’s their decision, and I respect that.”
Less than three weeks ahead of their season opener with Georgia, Swinney’s prepared to adjust should COVID come knocking, per The Greenville News: “We had coaches miss (last season). We had players miss. And there was nothing you could do about it. … I got vaccinated back in March and I’m grateful, thankful for that. I’m thankful that we have that option. This time last year, we didn’t have an option. There was no option. You just had to manage the best you could.”
Though he’s been vaccinated, Swinney’s allowing the Clemson players to choose for themselves whether they want to make the same decision: “It’s not something we can make them do. I’d love to see us at 100 percent. Hopefully, we’ll get there. … But it’s their decision, and I respect that.”
As they inch closer to kickoff, Clemson’s head coach seems to think some of the unvaccinated Tigers may eventually opt for a shot: “I think a lot of these kids, as it gets closer to the season, will (get the vaccine). They’ve really not had that fear of missing out on anything. There’s a little more motivation for all these teams as they kind of get back going in all sports.”
Clemson players who opt not to be vaxxed won’t just be dodging tacklers this fall, they’ll also be evading needles.