Dallas Cowboys below 85% vaccination: Consequences are imminent

: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys have thankfully had a fairy un-newsworthy summer break. At a time of the year when players typically get into trouble, no news is generally good news.

But that happy silence ended when reports surfaced the Dallas Cowboys were not one of the 13 teams who have reached 85 percent vaccination threshold the NFL set. And with camp opening this week, it’s a threshold the Cowboys reportedly will not be able to meet.

Regardless of your (or my) personal stance on the COVID vaccine, there is a real cause and effect relationship in the NFL. If you don’t get the vaccine, you’ll be treated differently and it will impact your ability to interact with the rest of the team. Any team or player with championship hopes should be inclined to do everything possible to avoid disadvantages like that.

Michael Irvin recently went off on this very thing:

"“If you’re not one of them teams (at the threshold) are you really thinking about winning a championship,” Irvin said. “Somebody in that damn locker room (should say), ‘Hey man, we’re going to have a chance. Are you vaccinated?'”"

While the general feeling is that the pandemic is behind us, the reality is the Delta variant is on the rise and another spike is already starting. We’ve already seen the extra contagious strain breach the NY Yankees locker room (canceling a game last week) and we’ve seen it hit Olympic athletes (now ineligible to compete).

The more unvaccinated players on the Dallas Cowboys, the more disadvantaged they are this season.

The bigger issue at hand is obviously overall safety. While not 100% effective, the top vaccines offer significant protection from COVID – even for the Delta variant which is spreading like wildfire across the world.

Based on the numbers, a significant portion of the population has made the personal decision not to get it themselves. That includes many reading this article right now. For what it’s worth, I say it’s up to everyone to make their own personal decision based on their own personal situations. I’m not one to lecture society on how to act, I’m just a sports writer.

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But the impact on sports is undeniable and that’s what we’re talking about here. Unvaccinated players will be locked down this season and will not be able to co-mingle or even go out like their vaccinated teammates. That will impact practice, meals, film sessions, travel, and everything in between. It could also cause a division of classes this season, which is toxic for team with lofty expectations.

Roughly 75% of NFL players have been vaccinated with at least one dose. How far along the Dallas Cowboys are is unknown. And things could change quickly once the camp starts and the unvaccinated start feeling the restrictions that the NFLPA agreed to put in place. In other words, someone who is resistant to the idea today, could change their mind based on how restricted they are in camp.

Like everything, it’s about assessing risk. Many Dallas Cowboys players appear to have taken on some extra risk this season. They either need to change that status or accept the consequences, whatever they may be.

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What do you think, will the Cowboys reach 85% at some point in camp?

  • Published on 07/19/2021 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 07/19/2021 at 18:13 PM