NFLPA President Calls Out NFL for Lax COVID-19 Testing and New Emphasis on Taunting

By Joseph Salvador

NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter called out the NFL on Tuesday for testing vaccinated players for COVID-19 only weekly and for its decision to put an emphasis on taunting. Tretter also says the NFLPA did not want this change and is calling for its removal.

"Despite our vaccination rates being extremely high, we have seen that the delta variant can infect and spread among vaccinated people," Tretter wrote. "That means, at the moment, we are in a worse spot this year than last year because the NFL has backed off a key component of our previous success: daily testing."

During the offseason, the NFL made the testing change in an effort to return to normalcy while the country proceeded with its massive vaccine rollout. As it stands now, vaccinated players are tested only weekly while unvaccinated players are still tested daily. 

Tretter, who plays center for the Browns, says this is a mistake because if players are tested only once a week that leaves "four to six days where we don’t know if a vaccinated individual is positive for COVID." 

He also added that the Titans "recently" had 14 positive COVID-19 tests even though the team was 97% vaccinated at the time. 

"We cannot do what is cheaper over what is right," he wrote. "We have been warned by our experts that, because of our current testing cadence, we are at more risk of missed games this season than last season. If we continue to go down this path, I need everyone in the football community to be aware of what lies ahead."

The seven-year veteran also addressed the NFL's decision to put a point of emphasis on officials flagging players for taunting and said the NFLPA did not want that change. Tretter called out Falcons owner and president Rich McKay, who said the change was requested by the NFLPA

"The majority of fans feel that this is a bad idea – and so do the majority of players," Tretter wrote. "It is frustrating to read comments like the ones reported last week saying that the NFLPA were the ones who wanted this change. I can assure you, as an attendee of the competition committee meeting myself, that was not the case. On the contrary, we would support the removal of this point of emphasis immediately."

Not only did Tretter call for the rule's undoing but continued to stress that the NFL needs to be held accountable for its decisions.

"This year, don’t blame the players who show too much emotion, and cut the refs a break for doing their jobs," he wrote. "Blame the people who push for rules like this time and time again."

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