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NFL Players Association president JC Tretter is extremely unhappy that some teams are forcing unvaccinated players to wear colored wristbands, arguing that it publicly broadcasts a player's vaccination status, which some want to keep private.
The Cleveland Browns center said at training camp on Thursday that teams don't need use wristbands because it's already easy to tell who is and is not vaccinated.
"It's a nonsensical idea," Tretter said Thursday via ESPN. "They say they need a differentiator between vaccinated and unvaccinated players. We already have a differentiator. The unvaccinated players need to wear masks. No other sports league uses any sort of scarlet marking or helmet decal or wristband, because they know it's not necessary and the teams know who's vaccinated, who's not vaccinated."
Tretter also said that forcing unvaccinated players to wear wristbands opens them up to public shaming about their choice to remain unvaccinated.
"So what it really comes down to is the NFL wanted to put a policy in place to try to shame unvaccinated players publicly about their status and make that known to everyone on the field," Tretter said. "It shouldn't be the case because it's unnecessary. We all know who's vaccinated and who's not, and it doesn't need to be a scarlet marking on people's helmets or wrists."
Browns aren't using wristbands, but other teams are
The Browns are not one of the teams who are forcing their unvaccinated players to wear wristbands.
"We're not dividing the team over this issue," head coach Kevin Stefanski said via ESPN.
But at least two other teams are reportedly using colored wristbands to differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated players. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported last week that Tampa Bay Buccaneers players must wear different colored wristbands to indicate their vaccination status (red for vaccinated players and yellow for unvaccinated players).
Florio also reported that unvaccinated Pittsburgh Steelers players must wear yellow wristbands during practice.
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