Unvaccinated NFL players will be subjected to a fine of $14,650 every time they violate COVID-19 procedures.
A spotlight was put on the punishment after a report that Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians would fine a player “$14,000 on the spot every time he isn’t wearing a mask or is breaking a protocol.”
The article did not directly quote Arians and did not specify whether it was a team rule or a league rule, leading some to speculate that Arians was instituting this fine as his own personal rule.
“NFL policy,” Arians told ESPN in a text message. “League rules.”
League spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed to ESPN that Arians “was correct” in his understanding of the NFL’s rule.
Arians believes the Bucs will have close to 85% of players fully vaccinated by final cut-downs. Some players have voiced resistance to the vaccine, however.
Running back Leonard Fournette, whose 448 yards from scrimmage was the most of any player on any team this postseason, tweeted Thursday, “Vaccine I can’t do it.”
Antonio Hamilton, a newcomer expected to provide depth at the cornerback position, called the vaccines “experiments” in a tweet and said, “If they get rid of me for sharing information to the misinformed, then so be it!”
Arians said the Bucs have not brought in any doctors or vaccine specialists to address the team as a whole, which Ron Rivera did with the Washington Football Team but said doctors have been made available to address player concerns individually.
Should they still choose to not receive the vaccine, Arians said, “Just follow last year’s rules.”
The Buccaneers, who visited the White House on Tuesday and got their Super Bowl rings Thursday, open training camp Sunday.