NFL Players Association President and Cleveland Browns starting center JC Tretter said Tuesday the league is “in a worse spot” than last year due to the reduction of daily testing for COVID-19.
Tretter made the claim in his President’s Corner letter to the players.
“Despite our vaccination rates being extremely high, we have seen that the Delta variant can infect and spread among vaccinated people,” Tretter penned. “That means, at the moment, we are in a worse spot this year than last year because the NFL has backed off a key component of our previous success: daily testing.”
The NFLPA backs daily testing for all players, not just unvaccinated players.
“Clubs have been instructed to test fully vaccinated players and staff over the course of three days each week,” Tretter wrote. “This then leaves 4-6 days where we don’t know if a vaccinated individual is positive for COVID and shedding virus to those around him.
“Recently, Tennessee finished up with 14 positives – and the team was 97% vaccinated at that time. It’s not hard to realize how devastating that would be during a week of the regular season. Yet, incidents like this have flown under the radar because players missing training camp practices or preseason games isn’t big news.”
Games getting forfeited or canceled, however, is the “worst-case scenario that we should all be actively working to avoid.”
“We are all tired,” Tretter concluded. “No one likes mitigation methods. But we cannot do what is easy over what is right. We cannot do what is cheaper over what is right. We have been warned by our experts that, because of our current testing cadence, we are at more risk of missed games this season than last season. If we continue to go down this path, I need everyone in the football community to be aware of what lies ahead.”
Tretter also addressed the new taunting point of emphasis, making it clear the NFLPA did not push for the change and in fact “would support the removal of this point of emphasis immediately.”
“Don’t blame the players who show too much emotion, and cut the refs a break for doing their jobs. Blame the people who push for rules like this time and time again,” Tretter wrote. “In 2006, the NFL wanted to eliminate touchdown celebrations — a move that most players, fans and media members thought was a bad idea. It took the fans continuing to push back for the league to finally give in and allow everyone to have a little more fun. This is the league’s second bite at the apple and if fans want to see more emotion, I encourage them to continue to voice that to the league.”
–Field Level Media