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ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr. unvaccinated for COVID-19, will work 2022 event remotely

Jason Burgos

ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr. understands the value of COVID-19 vaccines, but he is still doesn’t plan on getting vaccinated for the pandemic-causing virus.

Kiper, Jr. has been a fixture of ESPN NFL draft coverage for 38 years. However, in his 39th outing as one of the networks leading experts on this year’s prospect class, the 61-year-old will give his opinions on selections from his home studio in Maryland because he is not vaccinated for COVID-19.

Mel Kiper, Jr. to cover 2022 NFL Draft remotely due to being unvaccinated for COVID-19

“I completely support everyone determining what’s best for their individual circumstance and recognize the value of vaccines,” Kiper wrote in a post to his Twitter account. “Simply put, my COVID vaccination decision is very specific to my own personal medical history. I appreciate my colleagues, particularly the production staff and my fellow commentators, for their support and flexibility. NFL fans are the most passionate in all of sports and I can’t wait for another great NFL draft.”

This year’s draft is set to take place from April 28 to the 30 from inside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Vegas does not currently have a vaccine mandate for large public gatherings, and a mask mandate was recently lifted by the city in February. It is unclear if COVID guidelines within ESPN led to the decision and what are the specifics in Kiper, Jr.’s “medical history” that has made him choose to be unvaccinated.

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Kiper, Jr. first joined ESPN in 1984 and has been a prominent voice and face at the broadcast desk for the network’s draft coverage for nearly 40 years.

After a major surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Clark County, Nevada — where Las Vegas is located — numbers in the area have dropped significantly in April. Overall cases are down 3%, hospitalizations have dropped 17%, and deaths have fallen by 28% over the last two weeks.