Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehrer is calling out the NHL for failing to follow through on its promise to loosen restrictions if players COVID-19 vaccinations.
“At some point, we’ve got to start looking at the mental health of people around us. Not just the NHL, but everyone in society and see how can we start getting back to normalcy, because the problem is going to be huge,” Lehrer told reporters. “But lying to us about things changing to kind of forcing us to take the vaccine. Unacceptable. And now that we’ve taken the vaccine to have the excuse of saying, ‘Nah, we’re not changing because of competitive advantage.’ It’s outrageous.”
Lehrer wasn’t finished.
“They told me yesterday that they’re surveying all the teams to see who has taken the vaccine and who has not taken the vaccines, and they’re not going to change the rules for us as players until all the players have the vaccine at the same time so it’s not a competitive edge,” he said.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly responded, telling ESPN that the league never made any sort of promise.
“It’s been a matter that’s been raised and discussed as between us and the NHLPA, but no decision to modify has ever been made nor communicated to anyone,” Daly told ESPN.
Maybe Daly is telling the truth. Maybe the NHL never used the word “promise.” But it’s hard to believe Lehrer’s comments were created out of thin air.
“We had a meeting when the season started in the beginning of camp, that pretty much told us: you can’t go outside of your house, can’t do anything, can’t go to the grocery store, can’t do nothing on the road. You can take a meal in the meal room, but go sit in your room. Don’t be with your teammates, don’t do this, don’t do that,” Lehner said.
“No one thinks about the mental impact. And there are people struggling. I know people will say, ‘Oh, you are millionaires, this and that, you’re crying, what about these guys?’ We care about that too, man. No matter what people think. This is a society problem. But when government, corporations, NHL, are taking decisions in terms of these irrelevant things like ‘competitive edge’ over the human being, it’s not OK, man.”