Former Houston Texans and current Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said on social media he was unclear about what the NFL holds for him after a new league memo maintained that teams experiencing a breakout of COVID-19 among unvaccinated players may have to forfeit games.
“Never thought I would say this, But being put 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,” Hopkins wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
In a later tweet that wasn’t taken down, Hopkins posted, “Btw I got about 9 more years in me, y’all have a good day.”
The 29-year-old receiver, a three-time All-Pro selection, is in his eighth year with the league.
Though the NFL has not made vaccination from coronavirus mandatory for its athletes, the league in partnership with the NFL Players Association, created several agreed upon restrictions for unvaccinated players. These include the following: They must be tested daily, must wear masks at team facilities and during travel, and they also can not leave the team hotel or interact with people outside of the organization during travel.
Moreover, unvaccinated NFL players are not allowed to eat meals with their teammates, may not use team saunas or steam rooms, and if they test positive, they are subject to quarantine.
The new NFL memo also included team penalties to those restrictions.
“If a game is canceled/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 clubsm,” it continues. “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.”
The memo marks the firmest stance that the league has taken on the subject of vaccination.