Giants star Logan Ryan isn’t taking the NFL’s no-game-no-pay rule as an empty threat to force COVID-19 vaccination on uncertain players.
A memo circulated last week reinforced that if a game is canceled because of a COVID-19 outbreak and unable to be rescheduled within the 18-week regular-season window, a forfeit could apply and players from both teams will not get paid for the week. Yes, the same rule was in place last season and never used, but Ryan, who is the Giants’ team representative for the NFL Players Association, says it’s not apples-to-apples.
“That took a lot of people aback,” Ryan said of reaction to the memo. “The thing is this year, with fans being back in stadiums, it will be a lot harder to move a game from Monday to Tuesday, or [when] the Steelers played on a Wednesday. There’s a lot less flexibility.”
Ryan and Giants receiver Sterling Shepard — both husbands and fathers to two young children — shared Tuesday that they are vaccinated.
“Regardless of how you feel about vaccinations, and I believe everyone has their rights,” Ryan said, “the NFL is making it really difficult, with the protocols, to be unvaccinated.”
As veterans reported to training camp, it immediately became clear among teammates who is and who is not vaccinated because of rules dictating face masks covering the mouth and nose inside team facilities. Vaccinated players are mask-free.
Some teams are requiring unvaccinated players to wear wristbands during practice, interpreted by some as a scarlet letter and condemned by NFLPA president J.C. Tretter of the Browns.
“I encourage players to [get vaccinated], but I’m not going to demand anybody to if they don’t want to, if that’s what they believe,” Ryan said. “It’s just going to be really difficult day-to-day and almost costly with the amount of fines they can hit you with and 24/7 monitoring, so I think the league has made it pretty clear where they want people to be when it comes to vaccination.”
The NFL will impose fines of nearly $15,000 for every breach in protocol.
“I am vaccinated because I talked to enough doctors. I believe in Ronnie Barnes, our team doctor,” Ryan said, “and my wife last year went through a couple medical procedures and was in the hospital during the whole COVID outbreak — and that was pretty scary for us because I couldn’t see her as much as I wanted to. That was important to my family.”
Some NFL personnel quietly have expressed a fear of vaccination status — and subsequent lost pay — creating divides in a locker room.
“Everybody is able to make the decision for themselves,” Shepard said. “If guys are stuck on not getting it, then they are not going to get it and have to go through all the protocols. I got vaccinated for my family and for other reasons. I want to be here for my teammates — not to say that they are not.”
Giants owner John Mara told The Post the team will “get close to 100 percent” vaccinated. Teams over 85 percent have loosened restrictions. About 80 percent of NFL players had received at least one dose as of last week, according to chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills.
“The only weird part for me is I see people with masks and I’m like, ‘Oh, I forgot my mask,’ going back to last year,” Shepard said. “We’ve had a year of everybody wearing masks become normal in some ways.”
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