Ron Rivera opened Washington practice camp by expressing frustration that some players are not vaccinated. This has resulted in the coach, a cancer survivor, being more cautious in training.
Rivera believes that more than half of the Washington players in camp have already been vaccinated with all the necessary doses.
Last week, the NFL reported that 80% of players have started the vaccination process, and that 27 of 32 teams had at least 70% of players with one or two doses of vaccines.
Washington is not one of those sets. It is closer to 60%, and this has led to Rivera taking additional precautions.
“I am really frustrated,” said the coach at the press conference that opened the camp. “More than frustrated. One of the reasons I came in with a mask on is that I am immunocompromised, so with this new variant, who knows? When I am in a group where there are unvaccinated people, I wear the mask. I do it for health reasons ”.
Rivera received treatment last year for skin cancer. The doubts expressed by some of his players to get vaccinated constitute one of several questions facing Rivera’s second camp as Washington coach.
This was one of two teams that had a vaccination rate of less than 50% in mid-July.
On Thursday the league sent a memo to teams, informing them that an outbreak among unvaccinated players could lead to them losing games without playing. In those cases, the corresponding salary would not be paid to the players of both teams.
“This could be a huge disadvantage,” Rivera said, mentioning the outbreak that occurred last season in the Denver Broncos, which ended up placing a rookie receiver at quarterback. “Based on the rules, you risk not only your salary, but that of others if there is no match. I think that’s something we all need to think about ”.
And it’s not that Rivera and his staff haven’t tried. Washington invited Harvard immunologist Kizzimekia S. Corbett, who helped develop Moderna’s vaccine against COVID-19. The goal was for him to speak to the players in June, during minicamp.
Montez Sweat, a defensive end who is in his third year, said at the time that he did not support the team’s attempt to persuade players to get vaccinated.
“I probably won’t get vaccinated until I have more data and all that,” he said.
Rivera said that the team continues with the convincing tasks.
“We have a group of guys who want more information. And the frustrating part is that we try to provide it as quickly as possible, ”he said. “They still have to make their own decisions.”