While the NFL’s vaccination rate leaguewide has increased to over 90 percent, there remain a few prominent holdouts who have found themselves in the news recently. Kirk Cousins missed some of training camp as a close contact and made headlines by talking about how he planned on putting up plexiglass all over the Vikings facility in places like the QB room to protect himself and teammates instead of just getting the vaccine.
In Baltimore, Lamar Jackson missed time as well after testing positive for the second time since last year, as he missed a game during the 2020 season after a positive test. Jackson spoke with the media recently and said he still didn’t plan on getting the vaccine despite a second positive test. On Tuesday morning, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman pointed out how ridiculous that was on ESPN’s First Take, with Kellerman calling out the absurdity of people believing they can do better independent research on the internet than doctors and scientists.
Smith leaned more on the football side of things when speaking about how irresponsible it is for Jackson, as the quarterback of the team, to refuse the vaccine and put his teammates at risk — citing that they had to bring the same energy for Jackson they had for Cousins, saying Jackson’s situation was arguably more “egregious” since he’s already had it twice. He particularly took issue with Jackson saying he’d talk to his teammates to see how they felt, wondering how a supposed leader of the team could have gone this long without having those conversations.
“It’s incredibly alarming that he’s 24 years of age and he says, ‘Well, I got to talk to my teammates.’ Well, where the hell have you been?” Smith said. “Have you not been talking to them? What have you been doing?”
He also echoed Kellerman’s sentiment about athletes in particular saying they want to know everything in the vaccine when they regularly take pain injections and supplements from team doctors and their nutritionists without nearly the same screening process.
“Suddenly you need to know everything and all the ingredients about this vaccine when throughout your professional career, your collegiate career, stuff was injected into your body that you had limited knowledge about,” Smith ranted. “Give me a break. Come on man. It’s ridiculous.”
We’ll have to see if Jackson’s conversations with teammates change his mind, but there’s no doubt that, at minimum, he is keeping the Ravens in a precarious position by not getting the vaccine given the NFL’s policies this coming season.