Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester (41) is wearing mask before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders as the CDC recommends wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should wear a mask covering unless they are under 2 years of age, and or having a breathing problems at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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NFL: Games will be forfeited, not rescheduled, if COVID hits a team

The NFL will not postpone or reschedule games in the 2021 season should a team have too many unvaccinated players unavailable due to COVID-19, according to a memo the league issued to its 32 teams on Thursday.

The memo will be the topic of a scheduled call among all teams set for Thursday night.

The league played a full schedule last season without a cancellation amid an ongoing pandemic but juggled games and bye weeks to make it happen. That won’t be the case this year with the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, the memo said.

Instead, NFL Network reported, a game that last year would have been rescheduled this year will result in a forfeit for the team that has a virus outbreak. The team will take a loss and could be subject to covering financial losses and league discipline.

Players on both teams would not receive a game check since the game wasn’t played.

The league memo said nearly all clubs have reached 100 percent vaccination of Tier 1 and 2 staff members. In addition, more than 75 percent of players are “in the process of being vaccinated” and more than half of the clubs have vaccination rates exceeding 80 percent among players.

The NFL cannot mandate player vaccination, but is working with the NFL Players Association on education about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. The memo steps up the pressure on teams to address issues about the vaccine with their players.

“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,” the memo reads. “There is no right to postpone a game. Postponements will only occur if required by government authorities, medical experts, or at the Commissioner’s discretion.”

It continued: “In light of the substantial roster flexibility in place for the 2021 season, absent medical considerations or government directives, games will not be postponed or rescheduled simply to avoid roster issues caused by injury or illness affecting multiple players, even within a position group.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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