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Vaccination Status Has Made Little Difference in Return Time for NFL Players

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The NFL’s COVID policies have made little sense all season. And despite their plans, the league’s protocols have given vaccinated players little edge over the unvaccinated.

The NFL set stringent protocols for unvaccinated players this season. Most notably, the NFL forces unvaccinated players who test positive to miss 10 days of participation. Meanwhile, the NFL has allowed vaccinated positive players to return after two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

This distinction duped the media into reporting that unvaccinated players were hurting their teams and missing far more time. In reality, there’s hardly been a disparity between the two groups separated by the jab.

According to ESPN data, only 20% of vaccinated players who tested positive have returned in fewer than 10 days. Meaning, 80% of COVID positive NFL players have sat out for at least 10 days regardless of vaccination status.

Moreover, some of the most vaccinated teams have been hit the hardest by COVID. The Kansas City Chiefs have a vaccination rate of over 95% yet have placed 13 players on the COVID reserve list in the past week. That’s not to say the vaccine is the cause, but it proves the COVID vaccine has not protected teams from outbreaks, another myth promulgated by the media. 

Now, the NFL hopes to increase that 20% return rate with updated protocols. The NFL’s new rules only require vaccinated players to test negative once, among other possibilities. So, in theory, this update could boost the number of vaccinated players who return before the 10-day mark. But the change could also be minimal. Here’s why:

Members of the Cleveland Browns have yet to return a negative test after testing positive a week ago. Further, Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro Chris Jones remains in the protocol after his positive test over eight days ago. There are no reports that Jones has yet tested negative once. (Note: Cleveland’s players and Jones are grandfathered into previous protocols, but the timeframe between the COVID tests remains contextual.)

The competitive advantage between vaccinated players over unvaccinated is so far minuscule. The margin is certainly not enough for the media to justify character assassinating unvaccinated players as it has.

So while the press labeled Aaron Rodgers selfish because he tested positive for COVID while unvaccinated, it’s far more likely than not that Rodgers would have missed the same one game had he received the vaccine in November.

The sports media claims it’s data-driven. Let’s see how many of these sheep cite that so few vaccinated players have been able to test out of COVID protocols in fewer than 10 days. Will a single one even note the finding? Of course not.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

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