We've placed S Jordan Whitehead on the reserve/COVID-19 list.https://t.co/1F33i99s1b
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) July 23, 2021
It’s unfortunate news for the fourth-year safety. Whitehead was expected to return to the practice field after partially tearing his labrum against Green Bay in the playoffs. But said return is now obviously delayed for another 10 days, at minimum.
The obvious factor here is that Whitehead is not vaccinated, which means he’ll have to follow the same protocol from 2020. That won’t be easy considering the NFL’s recent policies that have come out over the last few weeks.
Bruce Arians -like the NFL- isn’t playing around, either
Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Arians will fine unvaccinated players a little more than $14k on the spot if they break the COVID protocol that they’re supposed to follow. The fine is a standard per the NFL’s policy, but Arians made it clear that he won’t hesitate when it comes to enacting the rule.
Per Jenna Laine of ESPN, the fine can range from $14,650 to as much as $50k.
So Bruce Arians fining unvaccinated players $14K for COVID-19 is not anything different from what other NFL teams will be doing. The NFL will put out their updated COVID-19 protocols shortly and this schedule of fines will be reflected in there. Fines range from $14,650 to $50K
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) July 24, 2021
It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out
Outside of the Bucs placing Whitehead on the COVID list, there have been two other players – Leonard Fournette and Antonio Hamilton– who have been outspoken about their stance on the league’s policy. Both players initially sent out tweets describing their issues with the policy and how they don’t plan on getting vaccinated. Both tweets have been deleted since.
Will this cause turmoil in the locker room? Especially if the Bucs cross the 85% threshold? It would be a shame if the Bucs had to forfeit games and lose game checks just because one or two guys decide to remove themselves from the vaccination process. But at the end of the day, it’s their personal right to make that decision. The NFL can’t mandate that.
But they can sure make it hard enough to where someone changes their mind.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out during camp and throughout the 2021 season.