It's not unusual to see the Jacksonville Jaguars making the news for not-so-good reasons. This time, head coach Urban Meyer drew a lot of negative attention due to some controversial remarks, up to the point where the NFL Players Association had no choice but to open an investigation.
Meyer said that the team considered everything when making the final cuts of the 53-man roster. And while that may not be unusual, he may have implied that vaccination status was also a criterion.
Given how delicate this issue has been around the league and how vocal some people have been about it, it was only a matter of time before those comments would backfire. And that's exactly what happened.
Urban Meyer Under Investigation Over Vaccination Comments
(Transcript via ESPN)
“Everyone was considered,” the coach said. “That was part of the [considerations such as] production, let’s start talking about this, and also is he vaccinated or not? Can I say that that was a decision-maker? It was certainly in consideration.”
"Meyer's comments did not go over well with the NFL Players Association. George Atallah, the assistant executive director for external affairs for the NFLPA, told ESPN via email that Meyer's statements "have led us to open an investigation."
"(...) Meyer, for his part, said vaccination status was one of the things considered, not that players were cut only because of their vaccination status."
"(...) Meyer said at the beginning of training camp the team tried to educate players on the vaccine and encouraged them to get vaccinated but that each player was allowed to decide for himself. But Meyer also admitted the protocols for an unvaccinated player who tests positive or is ruled a high-risk close contact could significantly impact the team's chances to win."
Meyer has been walking on thin ice since joining the Jaguars, first for his decision to try out Tim Tebow at tight end, then for his team's terrible performances in the preseason, and now this. This is not how you want to start your NFL comeback.