The NFL Buffalo Bills and NHL Buffalo Sabers surprised many in the sports world in April when they announced their intention to limit participation in upcoming games only to fans fully vaccinated against COVID- 19, and Bills general manager Brandon Beane went further when he suggested he would consider cutting an unvaccinated player if it helped relax some NFL health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association do not require players to be vaccinated to participate in offseason or 2021 season activities, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith criticized Beane at the annual conference. ‘Association of Sports Lawyers Monday.
“When a GM speaks up and says something that is not only inconsistent with league policy, but just ignores the rights of our players, I don’t know of any other way to characterize that as the stupidity which underlines it. “Smith said, according to Liz mullen of Sports Business Journal.
NFL Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jeff Pash did not mention Beane directly but added, “Our labor agreement is pretty clear as to why you can and cannot release a player, and there is no requirement that players be vaccinated.
Some players, like Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker, have already confirmed they plan not to get the vaccine. Comments on Monday suggest that such a player released by a team between now and the end of the preseason could turn his situation into a battle between union members and league owners.