Washington Football Team vaccination rates low, similar to rest of nation
In what seems like a consistent problem for the Washington Football Team, there’s more off-the-field drama. This time, it is their rate of vaccination.
I love the Washington Football Team. It is the NFL team I have cheered for since I was a toddler. As a native Charlottean, it is a badge of honor. I am the lone Washington fan amidst my fellow classmates, who mostly are Panthers fans.
I have fond memories of 2012, the year where rookie sensation Robert Griffin III re-energized the fanbase. It is the year my fandom for the Washington Football Team exploded into another dimension.
But frankly, most of my memories of cheering for the Washington Football Team are not as fond as in 2012. It is mostly a conglomerate of losing seasons, firings of multiples head coaches, a false sense of hope, and multiple off-the-field issues. I am not old enough to remember the “glory days.” I only get a glimpse of what those years must have been like through second-hand stories.
And frankly, after the Washington Football Team opened its 2021 training camp, it feels like Washington fans are like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, reliving the same story again. The main headlines out of Washington’s training camp, are not focused on the players who stood out on the football field, but rather their vaccination rates.
As of July 26, the Washington Football Team toted the league’s lowest vaccination rate, at 60%. This, rightfully so, is a major headline. It is a big headline because Washington’s head coach, Ron Rivera, is immune-compromised after being less than a year removed from his cancer treatments. And Rivera is not happy about the team’s vaccination rate.
Looking past the human element of the Washington Football Team’s low vaccination rate, it could also present a severe competitive disadvantage. Unvaccinated players have to follow stricter protocols than vaccinated players. Stricter rules for Washington in comparison to other teams could lead to more day-to-day issues and less synergy.
Furthermore, if many key players are not vaccinated, a positive test could lead to an outbreak. In the event that happens, Washington could be at a significant disadvantage on a given week, if they’re not outright forced to forfeit the game.
Here is the bottom line: The Washington Football Team is not unlike the rest of the nation. According to the CDC, 57.1% of the nation’s population has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That is strikingly close to Washington’s rate of vaccination amongst its players.
I am not a medical expert, and do not pretend to be one. But one thing is for sure: Just like the nation as a whole, this problem is not going away for the Washington Football Team. Until Washington’s vaccination rate rises to a certain percentage, it will remain an underlying, elephant-in-the-room problem that persists in Ashburn.
Fans have a right to be frustrated that the Washington Football Team’s vaccination rate is not higher, especially given Ron Rivera’s recent battle with cancer. Others have rational gripes to be upset that a global pandemic has made a permanent mark on the sports world, which is supposed to be an avenue of escapism.
It is also reasonable to be annoyed that the most talented roster in many years has had its practices start with the focus on their vaccination rates. Not on how Ryan Fitzpatrick looks throwing the football to Terry McLaurin.
COVID sucks, it truly does. It ruins everything. It will be a glorious day when sports can be seen through a lens separate from COVID again. One thing is for certain, however: It is not going away. Like the rest of the nation, it will be a problem that persists for the Washington Football Team.