Bill Belichick clarifies his comments on COVID vaccine
Bill Belichick faced some unwarranted criticism last week over some remarks he made about the impact of COVID-19 on NFL teams, and the New England Patriots has decided to clarify his stance.
There was some speculation last week that Cam Newton’s vaccination status (he is unvaccinated) played a role in the Patriots’ decision to release him. Belichick shot that down and noted that there have been several unvaccinated players and staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. Some, like Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, made the leap that Belichick was implying COVID vaccines are not as effective as people think.
NFL rules prevent Belichick from saying that vaccination status plays a role in roster decisions, as Urban Meyer is learning.
But Belichick took things a step further this morning by expressing doubts in the efficacy of the vaccines. https://t.co/S5AO8n1A9a
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 1, 2021
Belichick opened his press conference on Monday by reiterating that he has not made any roster moves based on vaccination status. He said the team is “better off” if everyone is vaccinated but did not back down from his assertion that vaccines don’t solve all COVID-related issues.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick clarifies his COVID-19 comments: "As a team, we're better off if everyone is vaccinated. And as we've seen, even if we have everyone vaccinated, that doesn't solve all our problems."
Says it was "not a factor in any player's release or non-release."
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 6, 2021
The NFL obviously was not pleased with Belichick’s initial remarks. Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills responded last week by saying data has “consistently shown higher rates of infection in unvaccinated players than in vaccinated players.”
Not surprisingly, everyone seems to have misinterpreted what Belichick was trying to say. He was responding to a specific question about Newton being released due to vaccination status. His point was that a player who is vaccinated can still test positive, which is why he would not base a roster decision on vaccination status. The coach was in no way trying to claim that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective.
If Newton outplayed Mac Jones in training camp and the preseason, he would still be on New England’s roster. We’ve heard of many reasons that have nothing to do with vaccination status that may have cost him his job. It’s silly that Belichick even needs to defend what he said originally.