The NFL is going to “NFL.” And once again, the Detroit Lions could be potential victims of it.
The league sent a memo to all clubs on Thursday outlining severe sanctions for teams with COVID-19 outbreaks within clubs. Here are some of the penalties:
- If a game cannot be rescheduled this season due to a COVID outbreak with unvaccinated players, the club with the outbreak will forfeit the game. Additionally, they’ll earn a loss regarding playoff seeding. Furthermore, neither team’s players will receive their weekly salary.
- Vaccinated players with positive tests and asymptomatic can rejoin their team after testing negative twice, 24 hours apart. They’ll be eligible to play immediately. However, unvaccinated players are still subject to ten days of isolation.
- The team with the COVID outbreak that triggers a canceled game is subject to additional penalties from the NFL Commissioner.
And that wasn’t all of it. There’s much more. The NFL is doing its best job to push clubs toward complete vaccination. Per the memo, the league office made one thing clear. They plan to play all 272 games over the 18 weeks.
“We do not anticipate adding a ’19th week’ to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season,” stated the memo.
The NFL is serious about this. And they have a good reason to be. The coronavirus outbreak was damaging to business. Last season, the NFL suffered a $4 billion loss in revenue due to the pandemic.
Read that again: $4 billion.
Despite generating multi-billions yearly, that’s a significant loss. As a result, the league is essentially incentivizing players and staff members in clubs to get vaccinated. However, it’s not going over well with players.
Several NFL Players Push Back on new regulations.
Skip the coronavirus (no, not really). The NFL has an outbreak brewing within its league. And it’s coming from a group of unhappy players. Thursday’s memo did not sit well with several of its prominent players.
DeAndre Hopkins is one of them. The Arizona Cardinals took to Twitter to voice his frustration.
“Never thought I would say this, But being in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @nfl,” said Hopkins in a now-deleted tweet.
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is another prominent NFL star to voice his opinion. Quarterbacks coach Quincy Avery tweet that a player is “Def a bad teammate if you don’t get the vax now…”
Ramsey responded strongly.
“I know two people right now who got the vaccine but are covid positive.. [Emoji shurg] I’m just saying. I wouldn’t look at a teammate as bad if he don’t get the vax, no pressure from [emoji No. 5],” replied Ramsey.
Several more stars from around the NFL have pushed back. And that signals one thing: the fallout is far from over.
How do the new penalties affect the Detroit Lions?
Two words: Taylor Decker.
Decker, 27, is a vital piece of the Detroit Lions offensive line. PFF currently ranks the Lions’ O-Line as 10th-best in the NFL. And Decker is a significant factor in that.
Here’s what they had to say about Decker:
“Left tackle Taylor Decker is coming off career-highs in overall grade (82.0) and pass-blocking grade (85.8) while ranking 12th overall among tackles last season. He’s ranked above average in both pass blocking and run blocking since entering the league in 2016.”
Sounds pretty good, right? Well, here’s where things get a little tricky for the Lions.
Taylor Decker has stated he’s not taking the vaccine.
“I did not get vaccinated, and I’m not going to,” said Decker in April.
“I’m just not going to speak to the reasons why. I have my reasons. I don’t know, that’s such a hot button topic, but me personally, I just don’t feel like it’s the best thing for me, so I’m not going to do it.”
Now Decker said this several months ago. Now there is a possibility he could have changed his mind. However, let’s say he hasn’t. And he tests positive for COVID this season. The Lions will be subject to the penalties per the memo.
That would be disastrous on many fronts.
As the Detroit Lions prepare for the start of training camp, Decker’s unvaccinated status is something to keep an eye on.