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NFL says teams could be forced to forfeit games this season due to COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 11:15 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 23:15:22-04

BALTIMORE — The NFL is drawing a line in the sand as they push to get to more players and staff vaccinated.

In a memo sent to all 32 clubs, the league said if a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players cancels a game, it will not look to reschedule and the infected team would be forced to forfeit, according to media reports.

The team will also face financial penalties and players from both teams won’t get paid.

Last year, the NFL bent over backwards to reschedule games to ensure the league would be able to finish their season.

Despite COVID-19 outbreaks among some teams, every one of them played all 16 of their regular season games with no cancellations.

The league has stopped short of mandating the vaccine, but this latest decision is their strongest push yet to incentivize players and team staff to get vaccinated.

At Pratt Street Ale House in Downtown Baltimore, the Ravens are a money maker. A game cancellation could mean business could take a hit.

“We plan things day to day if we know that something is going on and it turns out that it’s not it’s a huge loss, said operations manager Dylan Hall.

Hall supports the move if it means more people across the league will get the shot.

“I think it’s a great thing,” he said

Fans said a canceled game would be disappointing, but agree the threat of a forfeit could be the motivation needed to boost vaccination rates across the league.

“I think it’s a reasonable thing to kind of not require it but kind of push people towards getting the vaccine. I think steps need to be taken to move people towards that in anyway that can be done,” said Zach Bolten.

According to the NFL Network, all 32 teams have at least a 50 percent vaccination rate among players.