Patriots’ Joe Cardona says everyone in the NFL has a ‘responsibility’ to get COVID vaccine

"Any member of an NFL locker room has a duty to keep teammates, coaches, support staff and fans safe and healthy," Cardona said in a statement.

Joe Cardona wants everyone in the NFL to get the COVID-19 vaccine. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona is calling for his fellow players along with coaches and staffers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The NFL has taken a firm stance that will have massive implications to individual players,” Cardona said, via ProFootballFocus’ Doug Kyed. “Ensuring every single player in the league is afforded the opportunity to earn every paycheck for which they are eligible is extremely important. As athletes, our time horizon for earning income is already volatile enough with factors we can control, let alone this new policy.

“That being said, any member of an NFL locker room has a duty to keep teammates, coaches, support staff and fans safe and healthy. That responsibility should be an impactful incentive all on its own to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, irregardless of financial consequences.”

Cardona’s call to get everyone in the league vaccinated comes one day after the NFL warned teams that a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players could lead to game forfeiture. If games are canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak, players won’t receive a check for that game, the league’s memo said.


Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon was one of several players around the league who was upset with Thursday’s news, sending out multiple tweets voicing his displeasure with the NFLPA.

“For every player to lose their salary, I think that’s a little [too much],” Judon told NBC 10 Boston. “It is what it is.”

Judson said he is vaccinated.

Patriots co-offensive line coach Cole Popovich won’t be with the team in 2021 due to a COVID-19 vaccine-related decision, it was reported Friday.

While players aren’t required to get vaccinated, unvaccinated players will have stricter protocols. For example, unvaccinated players must wear a mask in team facilities and will get tested for COVID-19 every day while vaccinated players won’t have to go through those same measures. Unvaccinated players also can’t leave the team hotel or interact with members who aren’t affiliated with their team when traveling.

Tier 1 staff members, such as coaches, must get vaccinated to be on the field, in meeting rooms, or have any direct interactions with players.

At least 80% of the players in the league have received one COVID-19 shot, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said in a conference call Friday.


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