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If you come down with a positive COVID-19 test, you lose. And as far as the NFL is concerned, you may not just lose a game. You could miss out on a playoff spot.
Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the league sent a memo to teams indicating that if a game can’t be rescheduled because of a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will be forced to forfeit and take the L. The rule goes into effect for the upcoming season.
This, of course, is the league’s way of forcing everyone to be vaccinated and to pick on those who aren’t. Pelissero didn’t indicate what would happen or whether any rule will be imposed if a COVID outbreak should occur with vaccinated players.
The NFL is moving to a 17-game schedule, per team, over 18 weeks in 2021.
“We do not anticipate adding a ’19th week’ to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season,” the memo read.
As Pelissero noted, the NFL’s message to teams is to “play on time or don’t play” and be credited with a loss.
This type of tough talk will draw lots of praise from the mainstream media, of course. But it very well could lead to teams not reporting positive COVID cases. Few would rather have a chance to win than rat out their own guys. Then again, the NFL may have their own personnel testing players.
Basically, who knows where this will lead. Perhaps it will lead to more vaccinations. Perhaps it will lead to move cover-ups. Perhaps it will lead to teams that seek a higher draft pick to report positive COVID tests that don’t actually exist in order to tank the season.
This may sound like a good idea by the NFL. But it’s probably not.