New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Monday clarified his comments on COVID-19 vaccines after pushback from the National Football League's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills.
I “just wanted to kind of take a second and clarify an answer to a question that I gave the other day relative to vaccinations," he told reporters at a press conference.
"No player has been released or kept because of their vaccination status. That’s not part of the equation. My comment relative to vaccinations are, really, the way I feel is that that’s an individual decision for each person to make. As a team, we’re better off if everybody is vaccinated. And that being said, even if everybody was vaccinated, that doesn’t solve all of our problems.
“As we’ve seen multiple players and head coaches and assistant coaches throughout the league test positive for COVID even after they have been vaccinated," he added. "So it’s still incumbent upon us to be vigilant in our, really, daily hygiene and decision making for the health and safety of each of us individually and our team. So, we’ll continue to follow all the league protocols as we always do. But it’s not, that’s not a factor in any player’s release or non-release on the team.”
Belichick and the NFL have had a back-and-forth over coronavirus vaccinations over the last week, which started after Belichick said a “pretty high” number of vaccinated players have still tested positive for COVID-19. Sills responded by saying that the rate of infections is higher in players who are unvaccinated.
The issue that raised Belichick’s clarification of his earlier remarks stemmed from the fact that teams are not allowed to make roster decisions on players based on their vaccination status, according to Yahoo Sports. It was rumored that the release of quarterback Cam Newton from the team had to do with his vaccination status, but Belichick denied this to be the case.
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