Teams don’t spend $45 million for a player so he can miss two games due to COVID.
In the case of the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes is their highest paid player, and the highest paid player in the NFL at $45 million per season. For those calculating at home, Mahomes earned $76,530 for every one of his 588 pass attempts last season. Not a bad haul.
There are now 32 NFL players who earn more than $20 million per season. If you’re shelling out that kind of money for a superstar, you want them on the field come playoff time, not sitting at home because contact tracing has put them near someone who has COVID.
So the NFL has rolled out COVID protocols for upcoming training camps, preseason, and the regular season. In short, if you get vaccinated against COVID you can pretty much do whatever you want while at team facilities and after hours.
If you don’t get vaccinated, you face heavy restrictions similar to what was in place last season. The idea is to keep players COVID free and on the field.
This new policy has not been embraced by some players, most vocally Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley, who maintains he’d rather retire than be forced to get vaccinated. Bold words indeed.
Said Beasley in a social media post: “I’ll play for free this year to live life how I’ve lived it from day one. If I’m forced into retirement, so be it. I’ve enjoyed the times I’ve had. I’ll get to live freely with my wife, kids, and extended family forever. We’d get to enjoy the times that we missed from the sacrifices we’ve had to make just so I could play this wonderful game. So either way, it’s a win/win.”
I don’t want to interfere with someone’s beliefs, but I have a vastly different view. For starters, getting vaccinated against an illness should not be a moral dilemma as social media is so quick to proclaim. It’s a matter of well-being for all of humanity.
Vaccines are designed to keep individuals healthy, and by extension keep the general population healthy. I’ve given this ample thought and I don’t see how getting a simple shot, which takes just a few minutes, violates the way anyone lives their life, as Beasley claims.
Second, I don’t have a problem with teams wanting to protect their million-dollar investments. Beasley may be OK with forfeiting his $4.7 million salary, but chances are there’s nothing else on this earth he can do to earn that type of money so he should be thankful and abide by the wishes of his employer.
I think if an organization is willing to fork over $4.7 million annually, it has earned the right to call a few shots and establish policies for the overall health of their team and the entire league.
The NFL is wise to push all its players to get vaccinated. A shot is not going to violate anyone’s lifestyle.