Update: The NFLPA released a statement Tuesday evening indicating that it has opened an investigation into comments from Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer indicating that vaccination status played a role in their roster cut decisions.
“These comments have led us to open an investigation,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
The Jaguars joined the other 31 NFL teams in having to trim their roster down from 80 to 53 ahead of Week 1 of the regular season.
These decisions were not easy for the powers that be. Even with Jacksonville coming off a one-win campaign, new head coach Urban Meyer had to make some difficult decisions himself.
The legendary former college coach spoke about that to the media on Tuesday, admitting that the status of players when it comes to being vaccinated from COVID-19 did in fact play a role.
“Everyone was considered. That was part of the (considerations such as) production, let’s start talking about this, and also is he vaccinated or not? Can I say that that was a decision maker? It was certainly in consideration,” Meyer said, via ESPN.
There’s certainly some major components to this admission. It was previously noted that vaccination status would not play a role in roster decisions. Obviously, that has changed since the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols vastly favor those who are vaccinated.
In terms of competitive balance, the Jacksonville Jaguars join every other team in knowing what it means to roster a large number of unvaccinated players. New NFL protocols indicate that non-vaccinated players must be tested no later than four hours ahead of kick off on game day.
If said player(s) tests positive, he’s out for the game. Others who have come in close contact with the player and are not vaccinated are also ruled out. Vaccinated players are only tested once a week.
We saw this potentially have an impact in the New England Patriots’ decision to release quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday. The former NFL MVP just recently violated COVID-19 protocols and had to be sidelined. He is not vaccinated from COVID-19, leading to the Patriots showing some level of frustration prior to releasing Newton earlier in the day.
As for the Jacksonville Jaguars, it’s not clear what percentage of their 53-man roster is vaccinated and who among those that found themselves unemployed Tuesday are of the non-vaccinated variety.