With training camp starting up this week in the NFL, questions will continue to be asked about teams and their vaccination rates as the league attempts to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to NFL.com, 14 of the NFL's 32 teams have vaccination rates more than 90%. Others, however, are lagging far behind.
On Tuesday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera was asked about how he felt that some of his players were refusing the vaccine. He did not mince words in his response.
"I'm truly frustrated," Rivera said, via JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. "I'm beyond frustrated."
"Part of the reason I walk in with a mask on is I'm immune-deficient. I just hope that our guys can understand that."
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Last offseason, Rivera was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) located in a lymph node. He coached through the 2020 season despite having to undergo radiation and chemotherapy. Back in Week 4 before a matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, around 400 cardboard cutouts were purchased and placed in the Coach's Corner section of FedEx Field to support Rivera. The cutouts and other donations raised around $30,000 in Rivera's name, which was donated to the American Cancer Society. He wrapped up cancer treatment in October.
According to Finlay, Washington has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the league -- below 60%. Just hours after Rivera delivered his remarks, starting offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Things are moving in the right direction when it comes to the NFL's goal to vaccinate its players, and Rivera's strong message on Tuesday will likely reverberate throughout his locker room.