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Vaccination debate now affects football

People can be pretty unconcerned when talking about COVID-19 vaccinations. Do you worry about unvaccinated health care or nursing home workers? Perhaps. Do you worry about unvaccinated people next to you in restaurants or movie theaters? We have our shots, so we’re not worried.

But now the vaccination question is affecting something really important — pro football.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has spent the past few days being quarantined and miss ingtraining camp, under the NFL’s COVID RULES, because he’s not vaccinated

Suddenly, we’re paying attention. People care about their football, and the idea that the most important player on the Vikings, a guy who is getting paid a guaranteed $35 million this year, a guy who holds the Vikings’ hopes for a Super Bowl in his hands every time he takes a snap, is putting all that at risk because he won’t be vaccinated — well, this is serious!

We can understand the frustration of Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. Last summer he had to coach via Zoom meetings. Now he has a chance to run practices in person again, and the main cog in his machine is missing. For now, it’s just training camp, but what happens in the regular season if Cousins has to sit out a game because of COVID exposure? And it’s not just Cousins. Stars like wide receiver Adam Thielen and safety Harrison Smith are also unvaccinated. Losing players of this caliber can cost games.

Of course, COVID vaccinations are a matter of personal choice. No one should be forced to have a vaccination they don’t want, even people in high profile positions like professional athletes. But just like everyone else who goes to work or goes shopping or out to eat, football players’ vaccination decisions affect those around them, too. Most of us don’t have a chance at a Super Bowl run riding on it.

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