The National Football League (NFL) informed its teams that if the league cannot reschedule games due to Covid outbreaks among unvaccinated players, it could lead to forfeited games.

The National Football League (NFL) informed its teams that if the league cannot reschedule games due to Covid outbreaks among unvaccinated players, it could lead to forfeited games.

The National Football League (NFL) informed its teams that if the league cannot reschedule games due to Covid outbreaks among unvaccinated players, it could lead to forfeited games.

A reporter for the NFL Network tweeted out the memo sent to the clubs that outlines the restrictions. According to sources familiar with the dilemma, teams with outbreaks will forfeit and be given a loss.

The NFL just informed clubs that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week season in 2021 due to a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will FORFEIT and be credited with a loss for playoff seeding, per sources.

Massive implications.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 22, 2021

Additionally, if a game is forfeited due to a virus outbreak among unvaccinated players, the players on both teams will not be paid. The team responsible for the cancellation will be responsible and have to cover financial losses and be subject to potential discipline from the commissioner’s office.

The memo said, “Every club is obligated under the Constitution and Bylaws to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. A failure to do so is deemed conduct detrimental. There is no right to postpone a game.”

Kevin Dietsch_UPI Photo

Kevin Dietsch/UPI Photo

The NFL Network reporter notes this is the “strongest step yet to incentivize vaccinations. In essence, vaccination status dictates action.” The memo said, “If a club cannot play due to a Covid spike in vaccinated individuals, we will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams.”

This is the NFL's strongest step yet to incentivize vaccinations. In essence, vaccination status dictates action:

"If a club cannot play due to a Covid spike in vaccinated individuals, we will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams."

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 22, 2021

The NFL wrote that last season, they “bent over backwards to rework the schedule on the fly as outbreaks occurred. Zero games were missed over 17 weeks,” adding, “In 2021, the NFL plans to play its 272-game slate over 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,” the memo stated.

This is the hardest line the NFL looks to draw as it builds pressure on the owners, teams, and coaches to pressure players to get vaccinated.

vaccine

Jure Makovec/AFP via Getty Images

The NFL report added:

“If a game is cancelled/postponed because a club cannot play due to a Covid spike among or resulting from its non-vaccinated players/staff, then the burden of the cancellation or delay will fall on the club experiencing the Covid infection,” the memo states. “We will seek to minimize the burden on the opposing club or clubs. If a club cannot play due to a Covid spike in vaccinated individuals, we will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams.”

It’s the clearest language the league has used in delineating the difference between outbreaks among vaccinated individuals and those who elect not to be vaccinated.

According to Thursday’s memo, vaccinated players or staff who test positive and are asymptomatic can return to duty after two negative tests 24 hours apart. For non-vaccinated persons who test positive, the 2020 protocols remain in place, requiring a 10-day isolation.

The NFL noted that this is a way of making the clubs convince their players to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Jacob Bliss