The latest NFL rules regarding COVID-19 don’t seem to suit at least one of its star players well.
Just hours after the NFL issued a memo saying that teams suffering from an outbreak of COVID-19 among unvaccinated players will be subject to forfeits if a game is canceled, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins took aim at the league on Thursday.
“I never thought I would say that, but being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to participate in the vaccine makes me question my future in the @NFL,” Hopkins wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Hopkins, 29, became one of the league’s top receivers during his eight-year career. A three-time All-Pro selection, he has earned a reputation as one of the best players to catch contested catches, including a Hail Mary touchdown that gave Arizona an unlikely victory over the Bills of Buffalo last November.
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After being traded from the Houston Texans to the Cardinals last year, he tied a career-high with 115 receptions and recorded 1,406 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
In Thursday’s memo, the NFL said it would not extend the regular season to allow the postponement of any game in which a team has an outbreak of COVID-19 among unvaccinated players. If a match is declared by forfeit, players from both teams will not receive their weekly salary.
Neither the NFL nor the NFL Players Association have imposed vaccines on players. The two sides, however, have agreed to protocols that include a number of restrictions for players who choose not to be vaccinated.
The Cardinals were one of four teams that last week failed to exceed the threshold of 50% of their players vaccinated, the Associated Press reported. A league spokesperson, however, confirmed Thursday to USA TODAY Sports that all teams had since crossed that bar. To date, 78% of the league’s players have received at least one shot for COVID-19.
Hopkins wasn’t the only player to speak Thursday. New England Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon wrote on Twitter: “The NFLPA (curse) sucks.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette also tweeted: “Vaccine, I can’t do it …….”