By Leo Haggerty


Ok, I am going to admit right now that this column will not sit kindly with a vast majority of people.  After the outrage over the falsification of a card certifying that the Covid 19 vaccination had been administered to Tampa Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown, it’s time someone speaks to the vaccine issue from the particular perspective of a professional football player so here goes.

First of all, I will readily admit that Brown was completely in the wrong for fabricating a vaccination.  That fact is undeniable and do I think this is an isolated case confined to the Bucs?  That’s another topic for another column but my guess would be that Brown is just the tip of the iceberg.

Now, with that being said, let’s look at this strictly through the eyes of a professional football player.  Not from any other point of view but from a person who is in elite physical condition and in the prime of their life.

As soon as a player inks a contract, the National Football League dictates to them what they can and cannot inject or ingest into their body.  You want to take vitamin supplements, check with the training staff.  You want to take some medication for a cold, check with the training staff.  You have an eye infection and the doctor wants to give you a prescription to treat it that has a steroid, check with the training staff.  You want to take some over-the-counter medication for a sore throat, check with the training staff.  You starting to follow where I’m going, right?

For years, the NFL has dictated to players what they can and cannot use.  The basis for that, according to The Shield, is that they want teams to be on an even playing field and for no players to have a competitive advantage by taking something to enhance performance.  Ok, that makes sense, correct?

Now, if I’m a player, here’s the problem.  I’ve been mandated as to what I can consume after years of testing by the best medical personnel on the planet.  Now, I’m being told that I have to get a vaccination that will protect me against Covid after only six months or less of testing.  That’s asking a lot and I would start to ask some questions.

The first would be how many current NFL players have died from Covid?  The answer is none.  The second would be how many current NFL players have become deathly ill from Covid?  The answer is none.  The third is how many current NFL players have contracted Covid and the symptoms have been worse than the flu?  The answer is none.

To this group of athletes, where a basic requirement is to be in the best physical condition possible, you are demanding that the take an injection of a vaccine where the date base you have is less than six months for something that, to the, is the flu?  Pro football players may have been born at night but it wasn’t last night, eh?

I would surmise a propensity of NFL players are looking at the data I presented and coming to the same conclusion.  That realization is this, as it specifically pertains to players, is a huge overreach by the NFL but there is a method to the madness of The Shield.

As we have seen, the groups most susceptible to succumbing to the wrath of Covid are the elderly or health challenged or those that are obese or have medical issues.  That could be over half of the individuals that are working for any NFL franchise and it probably would include every team owner.

The thought has probably already crossed your mind that I’m an anti-vaxxer.  Not a chance, folks. I’m a 68 years old cancer survived that carries a few extra pounds so I’ve checked enough Covid boxes that made my decision to get vaccinated an easy one.

Hopefully, this gives you some insight into what an NFL player has to decide when it comes to getting vaccinated or not.  Do I take the chance on getting the shot and, if there are side effects, losing my means of earning a very lucrative living or do I get the vaccine so I don’t bring it home to my family and friends as a carrier?

Not an easy decision, right?  So, before you throw these guys “under the bus” for not being vaccinated, what would you do if you were in their cleats?