James Bradberry did not contract COVID-19 last season, but he did miss a very important late-season Giants game because of close contact with someone who was positive. At that time there was no vaccine available to the public. This season, under the new NFL rules, vaccinated players would not have to miss any time – practice or games – if they have the same experience Bradberry had in late 2020.
Even with that incentive, however, Bradberry remains unsure of whether he will get vaccinated prior to the start of training camp.
“I’m still trying to get all the information on the vaccinations so I haven’t come up with a decision yet,” Bradberry said on Thursday. “Of course I don’t want to miss any games. I’m going to do my best not to miss any games next year as far as injuries or COVID.”
A vaccination would go a long way toward eliminating that last variable.
“I’m sure it would,” Bradberry said, “but I still have to get all the information. I have to make a personal decision. I haven’t come up with an answer to that yet.”
Bradberry’s posture on the issue is similar to just about every other Giants player or coach who was asked about the vaccination during minicamp this week, that it is a personal decision for each man. While the league and the union are encouraging (and with the guidelines clearly incentivizing) vaccinations, many Giants players said they have not even discussed the matter among themselves.
“It’s not my position to tell guys to get vaccinated or not or share that,” safety Logan Ryan said. “That’s everyone’s individual decision. Last year we played during COVID with a lot of safety measures and we were able to pull that off. This year, I don’t know what that’s going to be or what the safety measures will be, but we already have them in place to play if we have to. It’s not my position or anybody’s position on this team to tell someone whether to be vaccinated or not.”
Not every team in the NFL is taking that position. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was asked about bringing in an outside advisor to educate players on vaccines this week.
“No,” he said. “I’m the specialist… If you want to go back to normal, get vaccinated.”
The Bucs even held a vaccine drive for players and family at their facility.
That hasn’t happened with the Giants yet. Nor does it seem like it will.
“We are going to work everything within league rules and do whatever we have to do,” head coach Joe Judge said. “We have a great staff here. Ronnie Barnes and the doctors have done a tremendous job communicating and educating our players and making any medical treatment or vaccine available when they need it. Players have a decision to make individually. As a team we are going to work within the protocols within the league. Players that don’t have the vaccine, that changes the protocols a little bit individually, but we are going to operate as a team within the rules.”
Rules that put unvaccinated players at a greater risk of not only contracting the virus, but missing valuable time on the field as well.