News surfaced on Saturday, July 24, that the NFL will fine any unvaccinated players $14,650 for any violation of COVID-19 protocol. The league’s stars responded in a variety of ways, including Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett. He responded with a strong message to the NFL.
The former third-round pick quote tweeted a story by “Sports Illustrated” which addressed the new NFL policy. He added a message of his own about whether the league can take these steps to punish the players. “I don’t think they can do this. The player reps gotta vote on this. And we haven’t voted,” Lockett added on social media.
Lockett’s tweet sparked a wide variety of responses from people on Twitter, including players and casual people alike. Several specifically directed messages at the receiver and told him to “go get the shot” while using varying levels of politeness. Lockett fired back and clarified that he had received the vaccine.
Multiple NFL Players Responded to the New COVID Guidelines
The NFL’s new COVID-19 policies sparked several conversations on social media, especially after Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said that he would fine players $14,000 every time that they didn’t wear a mask or if they broke a protocol. The coach later confirmed to reporters that the fines are a new league rule.
Along with the fines, the league issued a memo to teams stating that any canceled games due to outbreaks among unvaccinated players or staff members would result in a forfeit. These players would also face potential discipline from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
When the league sent out the memo, several players responded with strong comments. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, in particular, said in a now-deleted tweet that “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].”
The comments continued with Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon, who tweeted, “The NFLPA f****** sucks.” Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey tweeted that he knows two people who are vaccinated that have COVID-19 and that he won’t look at a teammate as bad if they don’t receive the shot.
The Seahawks Have a Large Number of Vaccinated Players
While Lockett had a strong message about the NFL and the ability to fine players, that does not mean that he is pushing back against the vaccine. The Seahawks wide receiver received the shot, as did the majority of his teammates.
According to “Sports Illustrated,” more than 90% of the players on the Seahawks roster have received the vaccine. The team is one of nine in the NFL that has reached this mark ahead of training camp. Although some of the players said that they did so simply to avoid hurting their teammates.
“I didn’t want to get the vaccine. We don’t know the long term effects,” corner DJ Reed tweeted. “If you have the vaccine you can still catch COVID. The NFL & NFLPA made getting the vaccine a competitive advantage. I just got my vaccine because I don’t want to hinder my team, idk how I feel about that.”
Regardless of the reason, the Seahawks will likely avoid any discipline in the event of a canceled game. The Chiefs sit in a similar position considering that head coach Andy Reid confirmed that 90% of the roster received the vaccine.