DeAndre Hopkins has expressed his displeasure over the new NFL COVID-19 policy, which was announced on Thursday morning. In a now-deleted tweet, the Arizona Cardinals star said that he was even considering retiring from the NFL due to the new rules.
The NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams describing the new COVID-19 vaccination policies. To put it simply, the NFL will force a team to forfeit a game that cannot be rescheduled due to a possible COVID-19 outbreak. The affected team receives a loss on their record, but both teams involved lose their paragraph 5 base pay for that game. The team responsible for forfeiting will also be financially responsible for any loss costs.
Following the announcement, there has been backlash from the new ruling as players and fans alike feel they are being forced to get vaccinated or else suffer many personal and financial consequences, going against the players' rights. WR DeAndre Hopkins is one of many stars who have begun to speak out against the mandatory policy.
Could DeAndre Hopkins actually retire?
DeAndre Hopkins has since deleted the tweet, but not before it was picked up by many news outlets and went viral. Many fans and fellow players believe he is not wrong, though. Players who don't get the vaccine could cause their entire team to forfeit a game and a game check, putting them in a hostile environment. He's not the only player to speak out and stand up for their beliefs and rights. Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette posted this on Twitter today, also since deleted:
It's unlikely at this point that either of these two players will retire from the NFL, but it should be noted that it is possible for these players to rally together and boycott the NFL. Who knows? Maybe DeAndre Hopkins does get serious and walks away from the league and loses all of the money from his huge contract. Sam Darnold, Christian McCaffrey, Cole Beasley, and Cameron Heyward are some other superstars who are anti-vaccine and that is quite the list already.
A new NFL policy was issued around the league just a few hours ago and the snowball is already rolling. As training camps begin next week and all players take the field, this will become a growing headline. Expect more players and staff personnel to come out and voice their displeasure. We could end up seeing some holdouts from the camps over the policy and it would be interesting to see how the league would react to such a response.
This issue isn't just restricted to the NFL or even sports either. All over the country, certain workplaces and organizations are giving their employees an ultimatum: get the vaccine or risk losing your job. Unless it's a severe medical condition or a religious reason, people are being forced out of their job and even their career field.
There will be more developments in the coming days about DeAndre Hopkins' stance and the NFL's response, but the teams and players are expected to be completely focused on the training camp. The NFL hasn't issued any statements on the backlash they received today. The league wants teams to be vaccinated by at least 85% but it seems like they want 100% now. If a top-level superstar like Patrick Mahomes or Trevor Lawrence takes the stand against the NFL's new policy, the league might be forced to issue a response then.