The NFL’s COVID-19 guidelines make me query my future

The NFL’s latest rules regarding COVID-19 don’t seem to fit well with at least one of their star players.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins targeted Thursday just hours after the NFL released a memo saying that teams experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 among unvaccinated players will be forfeited if a game is canceled on the league.

“I never thought I’d say that, but being able to hurt my team for not wanting to take the vaccine makes me question my future in the @NFL,” Hopkins wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Hopkins later went back in another tweet and wrote, “By the way, I’ve got about 9 years left in me, you guys are all having a good day.”

Hopkins, 29, has grown into one of the league’s preeminent receivers over his eight-year career. As a three-time all-pro pick, he’s built a reputation for being one of the best players at hauling in contested catches, including a Hail Mary touchdown that gave Arizona an unlikely win against the Buffalo Bills last November.

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After being traded from the Houston Texans to the Cardinals last year, he reached a career high with 115 receptions, recording 1,406 yards and six touchdowns.

In Thursday’s memo, the NFL said it will not be extending the regular season to allow for the postponement of games where a team has a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players. If a game is lost, the players on both teams are paid their weekly salary.

Neither the NFL nor the NFL Players Association have mandated vaccines for players. However, the two sides agreed on protocols that include a number of restrictions for players who choose not to be vaccinated.

The Cardinals were one of four teams that didn’t cross the 50% threshold of their players last week to be vaccinated, the Associated Press reported. However, a league spokesman confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that all teams have now exceeded this bar. To date, 78% of the league’s players have received at least one vaccination against COVID-19.

Hopkins wasn’t the only player to speak up on Thursday. New England Patriots Outside Linebacker Matthew Judon wrote on Twitter: “The NFLPA (swear phrase) sucks.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette also tweeted: “I can’t vaccinate ……”

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