The question of Dak Prescott’s vaccination status is next up in question. In the wake of Aaron Rodgers’s recent vaccination controversy, many fans and NFL teams cannot help but wonder if their starting quarterback might be the next player forced to sit out because of the NFL’s COVID protocol. The NFL’s protocol for vaccinated players differs significantly from unvaccinated players.
Vaccinated players can return to the team and be eligible to play that week’s game sooner than unvaccinated players. The vaccinated player can return if they have two negative tests that are 24 hours apart, and if they are asymptomatic for 48 hours. Vaccinated players are not required to isolate themselves nor do they have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. Additionally, players who are vaccinated have no restrictions on distancing in team facilities or in social gatherings outside of the team facilities.
On the other hand, unvaccinated players go through daily testing and they have to wear masks while indoors and outdoors, except during practice. Unvaccinated players also have to practice physical distancing while at team facilities, and they are restricted from attending social gatherings in groups of 3 or more individuals. The biggest penalty regarding unvaccinated players is forfeiture of a game. If the team has to cancel a game because of a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, then the team forfeits that game and players for both teams will not be paid.
While Aaron Rodgers’s placement on the COVID-reserve list did not ultimately cost the Green Bay Packers a game, players and teams across the league are now wondering whether unvaccinated players following protocol might cause an outbreak and forfeit the game. For the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, the answer to whether he is vaccinated was not as concrete.
Dak Prescott's vaccination status unclear
When asked in July before the start of the regular season, Dak Prescott was not clear on his vaccination status:
"I don't necessarily think that's exactly important. I think that's HIPAA," Prescott said. "But I understand where Zeke comes from. I understand everybody's opinion, and I think everybody has that right. We wouldn't live in this country and we wouldn't be in the position we're in if that wasn't the case. Obviously, we all have to do a better job of educating ourselves, of educating our neighbors just on this whole pandemic, this whole situation, the vaccine.”
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) is a federal law that prohibits health care providers and insurers from sharing a patient’s medical records without their explicit permission. In this case, HIPPA does not apply to journalists who ask about an individual’s medical information.
Of course, NFL Twitter offered their thoughts on Dak Prescott’s nonanswer to the question of his vaccination status:
Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott’s teammate and the Cowboys’ starting running back, had previously disclosed that he was vaccinated because he wanted to make sure he was available to play for his team. Elliott contracted COVID-19 last summer and quarantined before returning to training camp for the 2020 NFL season.
That being said, Dak Prescott’s brother may have provided some insight into whether or not the quarterback was vaccinated.
The Dallas Cowboys are currently 6-2 and have an inside track for the NFC East division title while also having a decent shot at the top seed in the NFC. As the quarterback and the face of the franchise, Dak Prescott’s situation is not exactly the same as Aaron Rodgers’s because the latter’s vaccination status was misconstrued when he said that he was “immunized” whereas Prescott did not answer the question. Regardless, no team contending for the playoffs can afford to lose their starting QB due to being placed on the COVID reserve list.