AP

NFLPA President criticizes league on vaccine wristbands

Jul 29, 2021, 12:27 AM | Updated: 3:02 pm

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns center and NFLPA President JC Tretter feels the NFL is trying to shame players by urging teams to require vaccinated and unvaccinated players to wear different colored wristbands.

He called the idea “nonsensical.”

Tretter, who took office last year as the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages, said Thursday he’s thankful the Browns didn’t adopt the wristband policy and he blasted the league for some other measures.

Tretter said it’s easy to identify who isn’t vaccinated because those choosing not to get the shots are required masks and follow other protocols.

“They say they need a differentiator between unvaccinated and vaccinated players, we already have a differentiator,” Tretter said. “The unvaccinated players need to wear masks. No other sports leagues use any sort of scarlet marking or helmet decal or wristband because they know it’s not necessary and the teams know who’s vaccinated and not vaccinated.”

But the NFL explains the wristband policy is designed to help the club or the league more easily identify if a player who is not vaccinated was not wearing a mask.

In a memo sent earlier this month to the 32 franchises, the league noted that several teams had inquired about best practices for monitoring protocol compliance at the facility, particularly given the protocol modifications for fully vaccinated individuals.

“Please note that beginning at the start of training camp,” the memo said, “clubs will be required to develop a method to visually identify fully vaccinated Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals. We recommend utilizing color coded wristbands or credentials, however, clubs are free to implement other methods.”

Tier 1 and Tier 2 covers team personnel who have direct contact with players.

Tretter feels the league wanted to guilt players into getting the vaccine.

“So what it really comes down to is the NFL wanted to put a policy in place to try to shame unvaccinated players publicly about their status and make that known to everybody on the field, and that shouldn’t be the case because it’s unnecessary,” he said. “We all know who’s vaccinated, who’s not and it doesn’t need to be a scarlet marking on peoples’ helmets or wrists.”

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said the team decided against the wristbands, which are being worn at some other training camps.

“We’re not dividing the team over this issue,” Stefanski said.

Tretter was previously critical about the league recently issuing a memo telling teams that if there is a virus outbreak among unvaccinated players, games will be forfeited and players will not be paid. The NFLPA said when that policy was announced that “the same basic rules applied last year.”

“The only difference this year is the NFL’s decision to impose additional penalties on clubs which are responsible for the outbreak and the availability of proven vaccines,” the NFLPA told its members in an email. “The protocols we jointly agreed to helped get us through a full season last year without missing game checks and are effective, when followed.”

Tretter said with cases increasing in some areas around the country due to the Delta variant, it’s essential for the league and union to cooperate.

“Last year it wasn’t perfect, but we worked well together because we needed to and because we needed everybody to buy in and do the right things in order to get through a season,” Tretter said. “This year, this is not going to be easy again. We’re going to need to really rely on a lot of things we did last year and that continues with meeting the protocols but also the way we worked together.

“We don’t want to lose checks, we want to keep people healthy, they don’t want to lose revenue and they want to keep people healthy. So we have the same goals, it’s about executing that.”

NOTES: QB Baker Mayfield said he wants to build on a solid 2020 season. “I can play a whole lot better than last year, I know that,” he said. … K Cody Parkey missed 4 of 5 field-goal attempts as he tries to hold off Chase McLaughlin for the job. McLaughlin went 5 for 5. … Stefanski said he’s excited Browns fans will be attending camp on Friday for the first time since 2019. The Browns will open 12 practices in Berea and one at FirstEnergy Stadium to the public. … CB Troy Hill and rookie S Richard LeCounte III did not practice due to illness.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

NFLPA President criticizes league on vaccine wristbands