Today, the NFL informed teams that COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players could lead to forfeits if it is not possible to reschedule missed games. Meaning there won't be an extension of the regular season to account for any makeup dates. Players from both teams would also not receive a game check.
It seems like a stark announcement but applying the same rule to last season, it would have impacted a grand total of zero contests and zero payouts. Still, the news is being met with predictable resistance because, well, you've seen what's been going on over the past 17 months or so.
It only took a few hours for one of the NFL's marquee players to float the idea of the nuclear option: sitting out the season. And maybe the season after that if the rule isn't changed. At least that seems to be what Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins seemed to be driving at with this tweet.
Hopkins quickly deleted it, but not before it took hold as a real story. One of the best receivers in the game questioning his football future due to vaccine hesitancy is news. Plus, Hopkins briefly spoke for a not insignificant number of like-minded players.
The first foray into this territory suggests these bluffs can be called confidently. If we've learned anything, though, it's that this particular discourse changes quickly. Combining COVID and football promises to yield friction.