The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the defending Super Bowl champions, and according to head coach Bruce Arians, they are nearly 100 percent defended against COVID-19.
Arians addressed the team’s vaccination status with reporters Sunday (Aug. 1):
Tuesday (July 27), Arians came after anybody perpetuating the idea that Tampa is violating NFL policy by not forcing unvaccinated players to wear identifying wristbands at practice.
“If I give you some information, at least know the f—ing rules before you put it in the press,” the 68-year-old said, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “Red and yellow bands — they don’t have to wear them at practice. That’s for indoors. I’ve gotta read s—t that we should be fined for red and yellow bands because they ain’t got them on at practice. That’s bulls—t. If you’re gonna report s—t, make sure it’s f—ing right.”
The league updated its COVID-19 policy in mid-June:
ESPN’s Adam Schefter relayed Monday (July 26) that the NFL and NFLPA are “at odds” over whether to have unvaccinated players wear wristbands:
NFLPA president JC Tretter spoke out against the wristbands Thursday (July 29).
“It’s a nonsensical idea,” the Cleveland Browns center said, per ESPN’s Jake Trotter. “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.”
The 30-year-old continued: “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. 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.”
The Bucs began training camp at AdventHealth Training Center on July 25. The preseason is scheduled to kick off Saturday, Aug. 14, when the Cincinnati Bengals visit Tampa. Tom Brady and Co.’s quest for back-to-back titles will officially begin Thursday, Sept. 9, against the Dallas Cowboys.
For more from the Bucs’ practice Sunday, visit Pewter Report.
Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She’s most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.