Should Gamblers Know Which NFL Players Are Not Vaccinated?


As the NFL could potentially make nearly $10 Million per team from deals with gambling establishments, a new issue has surfaced. The issue is having players removed from the active roster on game day if/when they test positive for Covid-19, a scenario that can only come about with players who are unvaccinated. So with millions of fantasy sports players and millions of dollars riding on every single NFL game, do gamblers as well as the general public have a right to know which players are not vaccinated?

Unlike the NHL who divided injuries into two general categories (upper and lower body), the NFL has long known that the injury report is one of the most important press releases any team makes. This knowledge regarding the “insider trading” of player injuries dates back long before sports wagering was only legal in Nevada, and has always been something the NFL has taken very seriously.

Don’t believe me … then take a look at the uproar Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady caused when he admitted having an injury for the entire 2020 season that was never reported by the team on its weekly injury report.

With that as a backdrop we now enter the new normal of the Covid-19 era, where some players are vaccinated and free from game day testing that could see them removed from a roster shortly before kickoff. That, while others face the prospect of not just missing practice like Cam Newton, Cole Beasley and other players have for breaking the NFL’s Covid protocols, but also missing games at the last minute for testing positive. Is this “what if” scenario any different than a player getting hurt in pregame warmups or waking up sick and unable to play?

To some, the answer is YES.

Some might say “it’s called gambling for a reason,” and anytime you wager on the outcome of an event you are not involved in, everything is out of your control. Such is life for someone who places a few dollars down on a Monday night game because their favorite team is playing or for those who make a living deciding if laying or taking that extra half-point on the spread is worth it.

Covid is not much different than most other accidents, since a player who tests positive is not looking to become sick just as any athlete does not look to get hurt, but sometimes slips on a staircase while wearing socks and missing The Masters (See Dustin Johnson). The same can be true with Covid, with an NFL player doing something wrong and getting sick, except the player’s actions were, likely preventable, creating the issue gamblers face on the brink of the 2021 season.

Chances are that many of the players who are not vaccinated for Covid are known to the public and especially the media; putting them in the best position to have “insider information” or even out players if they choose to. The better option for the NFL would be to strike an agreement with the Players’ Association and release the names of all non-vaccinated players. This would be done in the name of full disclosure so that not only gamblers know the truth, but every other NFL team knows who is vaccinated and unvaccinated, leveling the playing field for everyone.

This is the new normal everyone, a normal where carrying your vaccination card may be the difference between watching your team play in person, at a sports bar, or at home. Just as for NFL players, the new normal is finding out an hour before the game that they have tested positive and cannot play. All this means is that everyone involved with the NFL, including those who boost television ratings only to see when the game is “over,” have a right to know who does and does not have their vaccination. 

 


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