The NFL’s latest rules regarding COVID-19 don’t appear to be sitting well with at least one of its star players.
Just hours after the NFL released a memo saying that teams that experience an outbreak of COVID-19 among unvaccinated players will be subject to forfeits in the case of a game cancellation, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins took aim Thursday at the league.
“Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @NFL,” Hopkins wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Hopkins later walked back his claim in another tweet, writing: “Btw I got about 9 more years in me, y’all have a good day”
Hopkins, 29, has emerged as one of the league’s pre-eminent receivers in his eight-year career. A three-time All-Pro selection, he has developed a reputation as one of the best players at hauling in contested catches, including a Hail Mary touchdown that gave Arizona an unlikely win over the Buffalo Bills last November.
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After being traded from the Houston Texans to the Cardinals last year, he matched a career high with 115 receptions and recorded 1,406 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
In Thursday’s memo, the NFL said that it will not extend the regular season to allow for the postponement of any games in which a team has a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players. If a game is ruled a forfeit, neither team’s players would be paid their weekly salary.
Neither the NFL nor the NFL Players Association have mandated vaccines for players. The two sides agreed to protocols, however, that include a number of restrictions for players who choose not to be vaccinated.
The Cardinals were one of four teams that last week had not passed the threshold of 50% of their players being vaccinated, the Associated Press reported. A league spokesperson confirmed Thursday to USA TODAY Sports, however, that all teams have since cleared that bar. To date, 78% of the league’s players have received at least one shot for COVID-19.
Hopkins was not the only player to speak out on Thursday. New England Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon wrote on Twitter: “The NFLPA (expletive) sucks.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette also tweeted: “Vaccine I can’t do it…….”