Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer says that the vaccination status of is players was taken into account while deciding which players would make the roster this year.
All NFL teams were required to cut down their roster to 53 players ahead of the regular season by Tuesday.
Considering it is a pandemic year, many of the coaches where asked whether the vaccination status of the players helped them to make that decision on who would:
“Everyone was considered,” Meyer said, according to Yahoo. “[Vaccination status] was part of the production, ‘Let’s start talking about this, and also, is he vaccinated or not?’ Can I say that that was a decision-maker? It was certainly in consideration.”
The NFL has since opened an investigation into Meyer’s comments as vaccinations are encouraged but not required and officials have repeatedly stated that players could not be released strictly based on their vaccination status.
According to the Player’s Association, unvaccinated players will be subject to daily COVID-19 testing and are required to wear masks in facilities and during training. They are also subject to off-the-field travel restrictions and other COVID procedures while vaccinated players are not.
The team has since released a statement to clarify Meyer’s statement saying that while vaccination status was taken into account, there are both vaccinated and unvaccinated players on the team:
“Availability is one of the many factors taken into account when making roster decisions,” the team tweeted. “We have vaccinated and unvaccinated players on our roster, and no player was released because of their vaccination status. Ultimately, decisions are based on a player’s ability to help the Jaguars win. We educate our players and respect personal decisions as it pertains to the vaccine. We want to keep our players, staff and families safe as we comply with protocols related to both health and safety and competition on game days.”
The Jags aren’t the only team that had to be readjusted on their policies regarding vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
The NFL recently had to inform the Bills GM Brandon Beane that teams could not release players “solely due to vaccination status,” as well.