The NFL's COVID plan pisses off unvaxxed players -- but it might work

But in the jumbled rationales coming from unvaccinated NFL players—deeming it a matter of privacy, the need to study the issue more, or Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley insisting the vaccine offended “my way of living and my values athletes”—they mimic the larger population: Confused or overwhelmed by information overload and ripe for exploitation by all manner of hucksters.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold didn’t seem to grasp that despite “staying by myself,” and not “having a family or anything like that,” his decision posed a risk to others. Montez Sweat, a defensive end with the Washington Football Team, was confused as to the vaccine’s importance, thinking it somehow was a cure for those who’d already contracted the virus. Others, like Darnold’s teammate Christian McCaffrey, New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, declined to answer at all when pressed by reporters. (Lest anyone think this is confined to a single sport, Major League Baseball players have clammed up or spewed nonsense like, “In the grand scheme it doesn’t matter.” When asked if he’d been vaccinated in May, LeBron James offered this non-response: “Anything of that nature is all family talk.”)