Jul 22, 2021 - Sports

NFL says teams will forfeit games delayed by coronavirus outbreaks

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, Ohio, in April.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, Ohio, in April. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The NFL told teams Thursday that postponed games due to coronavirus outbreaks among unvaccinated players or staffers will not be rescheduled this coming season and teams responsible for delays will automatically forfeit, according to NFL Network.

Why it matters: The league hasn't mandated vaccines for players, but this rule incentivizes teams to pressure unvaccinated players to get inoculated.

  • The league said players for both teams will not be compensated for any canceled games and that teams responsible for any outbreaks will have to cover financial losses from the canceled games.

What they're saying: "We do not anticipate adding a '19th week' to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season," the memo to teams stated.

The big picture: Several games were delayed throughout the 2020 season because of outbreaks on teams, though none were canceled.

Go deeper: Saban says "close to 90%" of Alabama football players are vaccinated

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