Bill Belichick Clarifies Comments On COVID-19 Vaccines, Player Cuts

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is still having to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Nearly a week after the six-time Super Bowl winning coach said that veteran quarterback Cam Newton was not cut due to his vaccination status, and that many vaccinated players and staff members have been impacted by COVID, Belichick clarified his statement on Monday, saying “no player has been released or kept because of their vaccination status.” 

“That’s not part of the equation,” he said. “My comment relative to the vaccinations is that’s an individual decision for each person to make. As a team, we’re better off if everyone is vaccinated, and that being said, even if everyone is vaccinated, that doesn’t solve all our problems. As we’ve seen, multiple players, assistant coaches, head coaches throughout the league have tested positive for COVID even after they have been vaccinated.”

“It is still incumbent upon us to be vigilant in our daily hygiene and decision-making for the health and safety of each of us individually and our team. We’ll continue to follow league protocols as we always do, but that’s not a factor in any player’s release or non-release.”

His clarification comes a few days after NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills seemed to challenge Belichick’s initial statement that fully vaccinated players have been impacted by COVID-19. 

“We released our data last week from the first three weeks of August, and that data has consistently shown higher rates of infection in unvaccinated players than in vaccinated players. That was true at intake when they first came into training camp and it was true during that first three-week period of August that we released,” Sills said when asked about Belichick’s comments. “From a medical perspective, go to any major medical center in the country and as you walk around, those patients who are hospitalized, those who are in the ICU, you see the evidence the vaccines are working.”

“We know that vaccines are working. What we are seeing are some vaccinated people who test positive. But their illness tends to be very short and very mild, and that’s exactly what the vaccines were designed to do,” Sills continued. “Let’s all remember the vaccines were designed to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. They’re doing a terrific job of that so far, not only in the NFL where we haven’t seen any serious cases but in society as a whole.”

As the NFL inches closer to the opening of the 2021 regular season — the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off Thursday night — positive COVID-19 tests have started to create issues for players and teams. 

Zack Martin — six-time Pro Bowl right guard for the Cowboys — will be forced to miss Thursday’s game after testing positive for COVID-19. Martin is fully vaccinated but will not be cleared in time to play. 

Tight end Adam Shaheen and offensive lineman Austin Jackson of the Miami Dolphins were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Monday. Shaheen will miss Miami’s opening game against New England as he is unvaccinated and is required to quarantine for 10 days, per NFL Network.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

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