If you told someone watching The Last Boy Scout in theaters in 1991 that one of the biggest brewing controversies to hit pro football some 30 years later would be whether or not league players were vaccinated against a politically weaponized global pandemic of unknown origin, they'd probably tell you to pipe down because they're trying to enjoy this masterpiece of an opening intro song.
Which NFL players are unvaccinated?
The New England Patriots made a move that shocked many fans; the franchise parted ways with outspoken and popular quarterback Cam Newton. While many speculated Mac Jones would take on starting duties since he's improved immensely in such a short amount of time, there were now many who predicted that Cam was going to be let go from the squad entirely.
While there are several reported factors at play, namely Cam's large locker room presence and his inconsistent play prior to release, many believe that his vaccination status could've had something to do with it.
While Cam Newton has neither confirmed nor denied that he's vaccinated, he was required to undergo a five-day re-entry process in order to get back to slinging pigskin after contracting COVID-19.
That process only applies to players who haven't been vaccinated.
But there are a number of other athletes in the league who have either stated they've yet to be vaccinated or haven't spoken directly to the issue. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris, a first-round pick, declined to comment on the matter when it was brought up by journalists.
Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills stated that he wasn't "paying attention" as much to COVID-19 vaccines in June of 2021. It's unknown whether or he's been vaccinated since then; he has yet to go on the record to say so.
DeAndre Hopkins posted cryptic tweets alluding to his NFL career potentially being over due to the stringent protocols implemented in the pandemic's wake.
The Cardinals wide receiver uploaded and deleted the posts that hinted that players' freedoms were being jeopardized. While the league doesn't require its athletes to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, players who are vaccinated don't undergo as much testing and have greater flexibility when it comes to traveling and other health and safety protocols.
Joe Mixon also suggested that the NFLPA was discriminating against unvaccinated players with its policies, and he hasn't answered whether or not he's received the COVID-19 vaccine. Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive for COVID-19, which has put a severe impediment on his ability to practice with his team; he's missed 10 days as a result.
Local news outlet WBALTV11 reported that Jackson is indeed unvaxxed. Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson stated that while he wasn't opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine, he wanted to research the shot more before getting it. But he conducted a recent press conference without wearing a mask, which is a huge indicator of his status. Players who aren't vaxxed must wear masks while talking with the media, so he must have gotten it.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Adam Thielen, along with other players on the team, got on coach Mike Zimmer's nerves after they contracted COVID-19 and were forced to miss several key practices as a result. Zimmer said, "I'm frustrated, not just with my football players who didn't get vaccinated, but I'm frustrated with everybody [who didn't]."
Kellen Mond, rookie quarterback notoriously stated that he is unconcerned about COVID-19, saying, "If I die, I die."