Rivera 'beyond frustrated' with Washington's low vaccine rate
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera sounded off Tuesday on the least vaccinated team in the NFL - his own.
"I'm truly frustrated. I'm beyond frustrated," he told reporters, according to Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "Part of it is - and the reason I walked in with a mask on is - you know, I'm immunodeficient. So with this new variant, who knows?"
Rivera, who coached while undergoing cancer treatments last year, spent part of his offseason encouraging his players to get vaccinated against COVID-19. His message was met with resistance, as only 60% of his roster has received at least one dose, which is well below the league average of 84%.
"I hope we can get to these guys and get them to understand, really, it's not just for them, but it's for the people around them," Rivera said. "And that's the thing that hopefully will get their attention is that it's not just about them, but the folks around them."
Washington successfully navigated the pandemic in 2020, placing only two players on the COVID-19 reserve throughout the season, according to The Athletic's Nicki Jhabvala.
The NFL strengthened COVID-19 protocols for 2021 and has threatened clubs with forfeits if they're unable to field a team because of an outbreak.
"The thing they've got to think about too, is, you know, based on the rules, you're risking not just your paycheck, but other people's paychecks too if there's no gameplay," Rivera said.
Rivera, a two-time NFL Coach of the Year, steered Washington to an NFC East title last season in his first year on the job.
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