Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera described himself as "beyond frustrated" Tuesday with the COVID-19 vaccination rate on his team.
While nearly half the league has reached a 90 percent vaccination rate among players, Rivera would only say Tuesday that his club is over 50 percent.
"I think it's frustrating. Especially in the fact that last year we were the No. 1 team against COVID," Rivera said. "Our players took the challenge of staying inside the bubble, doing the things the right way and for the most part, you know we only had two situations. Both of them were guys who weren't on the active 53, so it turned out to be a positive for us, as far as being COVID free. And now for whatever reason we have some reluctance to do that, to get the vaccine."
Early last month, WFT brought in a vaccination expert to speak to players about the choice. At that point, Rivera said his team wasn't yet at a 50-percent rate.
Last week, the NFL informed clubs that if an outbreak among a team's unvaccinated players occurs this season and the game can't be rescheduled, it will be forfeited. As well, players for both teams of a game that must be canceled due to COVID-19 will not be paid for that game. Some players voiced displeasure with that policy.
"I hope we can get to these guys, get them to understand really it's not just for them, but it's for the people around them," Rivera said. "And that's the thing that I think hopefully will get their attention is it's not just about them, but the folks around them. ... It is everybody's choice, everybody's decision, but you just hope they all fall in line and understand what's at stake. I'm truly frustrated, I'm beyond frustrated."
The entire WFT coaching staff is vaccinated. Despite that, Rivera said he wears a mask around unvaccinated people because he is immune-deficient after battling cancer in the last year. He was deemed cancer-free this past January.
While WFT doesn't have as many players vaccinated as its coach would prefer, leaguewide rates are escalating as training camps commence around the league. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that 85 percent of NFL players have received at least one vaccine shot, and that 14 of 32 clubs have surpassed a 90-percent rate.