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Unvaccinated Holdouts on NFL Team Ordered to Wear Special Armband

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have come a long way from the Steel Curtain era of the 1970s — and not for the better.

Both on and off the field, the organization has become a major disappointment to its fans. From choking in playoff games to mishandling accusations of misconduct, the Steelers have become a joke.

Now, Pittsburgh is applying its incompetence to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically in terms of its vaccination policy.

According to Steelers Now, citing an NFL Network report, more than 90 percent of Steelers players have been vaccinated, making them one of 19 teams over that threshold as of Thursday.

Now the organization is making sure the unvaccinated players stand out by forcing them to wear yellow wristbands at practice, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

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“Those who have yet to get the shot will stick out like a proverbial sore thumb,” Florio said in a post on July 25.

That will be the only qualitative difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated players, under the team policy. That being said, the NFL has mandated numerous restrictions for unvaccinated players:

It is unclear how the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised (and utterly ridiculous) protocols for vaccinated Americans will affect the protocols agreed to in June by the NFL and the player’s union.

However, the NFL Players Association is extremely unhappy that the Steelers are singling out unvaccinated players.

“It’s a nonsensical idea,” said NFLPA President J.C. Tretter, a center for the Cleveland Browns, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

“They say they need a differentiator between vaccinated and unvaccinated players,” Tretter said. “We already have a differentiator. The unvaccinated players need to wear masks.

“No other sports league uses any sort of scarlet marking or helmet decal or wristband, because they know it’s not necessary and the teams know who’s vaccinated, who’s not vaccinated.”

Tretter and other players have a right to be concerned. Journalists will be able to identify unvaccinated players by their wristbands. Under the June agreement, fully vaccinated reporters are allowed access to areas including the sidelines, the field and locker rooms.

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Undoubtedly, those reporters will want to interrogate those players about why they are unvaccinated and those interrogations will become major news stories, generating unnecessary drama.

The worst part is that the Steelers are not alone. The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers have joined the crusade against unvaccinated players.

Florio reported that the Bucs were forcing vaccinated players to wear red wristbands while unvaccinated players wear yellow wristbands.

Among the yellow wristbands was running back Leonard Fournette, who has publicly expressed his misgivings regarding the vaccine.

I have made no secret of the fact that I am very pro-vaccine, but I do not think unvaccinated people should be treated any differently. Unvaccinated people merely made a different decision than I did, as is their right. This goes for professional athletes too.

Do you support forcing unvaccinated players to wear yellow wristbands?

The desire to maintain a competitive advantage and prevent forfeits is understandable, but again, the Steelers already have vaccinated more than 90 percent of their players, while Tampa Bay projects to be at 92 percent by Aug. 13.

The added stipulation of the wristbands is little more than public shaming of those who have decided not to receive the shots.

And none of these efforts will help Ben Roethlisberger relearn how to accurately throw the ball more than 10 yards.

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Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Languages Spoken
English, some Spanish




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