It took 6 percent of NFL players who tested positive for COVID-19 in a week for the league to come out of its previously relentless position that it would not postpone games as a result of the pandemic.
This week was one of the worst in the league, with a massive outbreak and multiple teams placing 10 or more players on their respective COVID reserve lists. With the bye weeks over, all teams are scheduled to play every week for the remainder of the season, including teams with rampant COVID. Those teams will have little time to recover from their problems.
On Friday, the NFL postponed three games – Raiders at Browns, Seahawks at Rams and Washington at Eagles – a day after announcing new COVID protocols.
The protocols were met with criticism, especially from Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, but disdain for the postponements was more pervasive across the league, given their far-reaching nature.
In particular, Raiders and Eagles players took to Twitter to voice their complaints. Las Vegas and Philadelphia are among the teams with the fewest players on the COVID reserve list, while Cleveland and Washington have the most.
Raiders owner Mark Davis highlighted how his team is fully vaccinated and will now play in consecutive short weeks. Beyond that, he disagreed with the fact that last year, several offensive linemen for the Raiders lost time to COVID, but the league did not postpone any of the team’s games, while postponing a game this year after an outbreak of an opponent. .
A similar situation arose last year when the Broncos lost all of their regular quarterbacks and had to use catcher Kendall Hinton at the position. The league didn’t postpone that game either, and the Broncos lost 31-3 to the Saints.
Free agent defensive back Tre Boston, who has no interest in any of these games, reminded everyone.
If Denver had to wear a WR last year at QB, then the Browns have to find a way out too! Or lose! Just like you all scared all these players and coaches if you didn’t have a Vax you would lose money, get cut, or cost your team to lose games. Check them out now! Reprogramming smh ????
– Tre Boston (@ TreBos10) December 17, 2021
Two players who are being directly affected, Raiders linebacker KJ Wright and cornerback Casey Hayward, criticized the NFL Players Association for their involvement in this decision and their general handling of protocols.
If it was the other way around, I swear we’d be playing tomorrow.
– KJ (@ KJ_WRIGHT34) December 17, 2021
Eagles Pro Bowl defensive back Darius Slay noted that the complaints come not because he and other players are scared or trying to dodge the competition, but because their respective teams were doing what they were asked to do when others weren’t.
Let’s clarify this, we do not complain because we are afraid. He is much bigger than those people … WE ARE READY FOR WAR !!! #EaglesMoscar
– Darius Slay (@ bigplay24slay) December 18, 2021
Slay’s teammate Rodney McLeod posted a similar sentiment.
So we have to suffer and compromise our schedule because of another team’s mistake. Make it make sense! Smh
– Rodney McLeod (@ Rodney_McLeod4) December 17, 2021
It remains to be seen if anything could change in the future and if the NFL and NFLPA can reach a consensus on protocols that satisfy everyone.