The National Football League’s famous shield stands for many things, and now it may include vaccinations.

The league may strip “Tier 1 status” from some assistant coaches on at least four NFL teams because they are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sources told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that, without Tier 1 status, the coaches would not be allowed on the field, in meeting rooms or direct contact with players.

Pelissero tweeted, in part: “For many coaches, there are two choices as of now: Get vaccinated or spend the season in your office.”

The NFL currently does allow league employees without a vaccination to remain eligible at the Tier 1 or 2 level with proof of a medical or religious reason for turning down the vaccine.

All health and safety protocols are developed and agreed upon by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, but it’s clear that assistants refusing the vaccine will now cause their teams to be put at a disadvantage. 

The players’ rates of vaccination are lower than team staffs, but players are not required to receive the vaccine. 

Under the ruling reported by Pelissero, if a player is not vaccinated, he can still have contact with vaccinated coaches, but not the other way around.

Pelissero’s reporting also covered the timeliness aspect: The deadline for NFL players and staff to receive the first of the two Pfizer or Moderna shots is Monday, according to the NFL’s chief medical officer Allen Sills, if individuals want to reach full vaccination by the beginning of late-July training camps.

There was no further information on whether the unnamed assistant coaches had already had COVID-19.

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