Former NFL wide receiver Michael Irvin said players on the Dallas Cowboys are “not thinking right” and not serious about winning the Super Bowl because they have not received COVID-19 shots, NBC Sports reported.
“Dude, you’re not thinking right. You’re not thinking right. Whatever you got, I don’t give a damn,” Irvin told ESPN’s Todd Archer.
“Nothing else can be more important,” he continued. “You’re not going to get this [Super Bowl] easily.”
The NFL announced a plan to reward teams that vaccinate at least 85% of their players and punish teams that do not meet the threshold. Under-vaccinated teams will face restrictions on team meetings, practices and summer training camp.
“And not being one of the [vaccinated teams] says there’s other things to a great number of people on this team that are more important than winning championships, and that makes me worried,” Irvin said.
Thirteen teams have reached the 85% threshold, ESPN reported.
Irvin, who played for the Cowboys from 1988 to 1999, said the Cowboys players who have received the vaccine need to pressure the rest of the team to get it.
“OK, so now if you’re not getting vaccinated and you got all these other teams that are getting vaccinated,” Irvin said. “Somebody in that damn locker room [should say], ‘Hey man, we’re going to have a chance [at winning the Super Bowl], are you vaccinated?'”
Many Americans have avoided the various COVID-19 shots because the Food and Drug Administration has only approved them for emergency use. Other skeptics have expressed concern about vaccinating against coronaviruses—which generally cause common colds—at all.
COVID-19 vaccines have caused flu-like symptoms in many cases or, more rarely, serious complications, even in some young, otherwise healthy people.
Irvin, an analyst on the NFL Network, said players could lose their positions on teams or perhaps risk their NFL careers if they refuse to get the shot and miss games.
“Let’s go through this because this could be a two-week healthy dude missing games, and in this league, this ain’t the NBA,” he saisd. “In this league that could be it for you. The right person misses two weeks, that’s it. Your ass is out.”