In an exclusive report based on a whistleblowing NFL player who requested anonymity, PJ Media published details of discrimination by the league against unvaccinated players. The NFL could be a warning of things to come from private employers who are subject to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates.
The player said that he is telling his story to show what is happening due to the league’s policy on vaccinations. He said that the league is doing “its best to screw over players.”
According to the player, the league puts intense pressure on players who have chosen not to receive the vaccine. Unproven players are the most brutal hit. He said that about 60 percent of players are “minimum contract guys” without contract guarantees. They can be cut without notice and are not entitled to further compensation.
While coaches and staff are required to be vaccinated, there is no express mandate for players. The whistleblower says that one exists “for all intents and purposes,” however.
The report includes a memo from the NFL that sets out the strict rules for unvaccinated players. The authorities have the effect of creating a significant disadvantage for unvaccinated players in being picked up by teams. They are not permitted to eat in the same room as vaccinated players and cannot leave a training facility to eat. They have severe restrictions on having visits from family or friends in their own homes.
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Workout restrictions for unvaccinated players prevent them from being seen by teams. For example, unvaccinated players are subject to a five-day waiting period upon being cut before working out for other groups. Because player transactions at the bottom of rosters occur hourly, unvaccinated players who do not have stat status are effectively shut out of the free-agent market.
The whistleblower also said that the vaccine rules were not collectively bargained between the NFL and the players association. The negotiations were with only “a few select” members of the players’ union.
The report also points out some potential legal weaknesses in the league’s position. Teams are segregating unvaccinated players and forcing them to wear specific colored wristbands. Punishments by groups because of vaccination status could result in exposure to claims of privacy violations.
The player said that the “vast majority” of unvaccinated players got the vaccine against their judgment when training camp got underway to avoid discriminatory treatment. The whistleblower said that he didn’t feel he needed the vaccine for his safety but had to take it to have the best chance to make his team for the upcoming season.