The 2021 NFL season and the league could have a problem on its hands. The plan for stadiums across the country was to allow 100% capacity for fans. With COVID-19 cases back on the rise, things may not be so simple. The Las Vegas Raiders decided to be the first team to make a firm decision with how they will combat a possible COVID-19 outbreak due to game attendance.
The Raiders announced on Monday that fans will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before they are able to attend a game at Allegiant Stadium.
The team had the option to either require masks during games or require fans to have the vaccination. Owner Mark Davis decided the latter would be preferable.
“Health and safety has always been our No. 1 priority,” Davis said in a statement. “After consultation with Gov. Sisolak and other community leaders, this policy ensures that we will be able to operate at full capacity without masks for fully vaccinated fans for the entire season.”
Davis also discussed the ultimatum that Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak gave him.
“That’s (consistency) one thing we’re looking for more than anything with the pandemic,” Davis said. “We did the same thing last year. To get consistency, we didn’t let anybody go. I’m grateful for the governor giving us an option to continue with masks or nip it in the bud right now and go maskless and no attendance limits throughout the season. There was no real choice; this was the right way to go.”
The Raiders are the first NFL team to make this decision but there will likely be more to follow.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Some Fans Unhappy With News
The vaccine has become a hot-button topic with many in the country so the Raiders’ decision was naturally going to be met with pushback. Some fans expressed great discontent with the team.
Obviously, non-vaccinated fans are worried about what will happen with their tickets. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, season-ticker holders can roll over their tickets to next year or get a full refund.
Jon Gruden Supports Decision
Many fans clearly aren’t happy with the vaccination requirements but Davis’ hands were tied. Though the Raiders were the first team to put these rules in place, they won’t be the last. Head coach Jon Gruden expressed support for the decision.
“Well I just support the decisions that are being made,” Gruden said Tuesday. “Every state, every team is probably going to have a different view on this. I support the decision that was made. I’ll be anxious to see as many Raider fans as possible with no mask. That’s what I’m excited about. They can make more noise that way. But I know it’s a touchy subject for a lot of people, but I do support the direction we’re heading in. And I encourage everybody I know to get the vaccine and come join us.”
Obviously, there have been players to come out strongly against being forced to take the vaccine but the NFL has taken a clear stance. The Raiders have helped make that stance even more clear: Either get vaccinated or this NFL season may not be as easy for you.
READ NEXT: Quarterback Among First 7 Roster Cuts for Raiders