Patriots coach Bill Belichick DENIES Cam Newton’s surprise cut from team was because he’s not vaccinated – and scolds reporter for implying injection ‘solves every problem’ for players
- Patriots coach Bill Belichick denied that Cam Newton’s refusal to get vaccinated played a factor in his release. There had been speculation that was the case
- Belichick told reporters that the implication that the vaccine solves every problem for players, in terms of COVID-19, ‘has not been substantiated’
- Belichick did not offer any further explanation as to why Newton was cut, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels described it as a business decision
- The Patriots saved more than $4 million by cutting Newton, who could actually re-sign with the team at a lower price if he doesn’t draw interest in free agency
- Currently over 92% of NFL players are vaccinated, according to the league
- Unvaccinated NFL players continue to face the strict COVID-19 protocols they had last season, including daily testing as well as mask and distancing mandates
- Unvaccinated players are required to quarantine for five days if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person – a rule that has caused controversy
- Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer admitted Tuesday that players’ vaccination statuses were ‘certainly a consideration’ for the team during final roster cuts
- The NFL Players Association has launched an investigation into the comment
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has denied that Cam Newton’s refusal to get vaccinated played a factor in his release, and added his own skepticism over the injection to boot.
Newton, a former NFL MVP, replaced franchise legend Tom Brady last season, but was cut on Tuesday, clearing the way for first-round pick Mac Jones to get the nod at quarterback. The 32-year-old Newton started each of New England’s three preseason games, but also missed practice time due to what the team described as a ‘misunderstanding’ about the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
NFL players who have received the injection are no longer subject those strict COVID-19 protocols, such as mandatory five-day quarantines for coming into contact with an infected person. There had been speculation in the media that Newton’s refusal to get vaccinated hurt his standing within the team and made him undesirable as a backup behind Jones.
When asked during a video press conference Wednesday morning if Newton was cut because he refused to get vaccinated, the famously tight-lipped Belichick simply said, ‘no.’
Belichick did not offer any further explanation as to why Newton was cut, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels described it as a business decision.
‘Those days are never easy,’ McDaniels told reporters Wednesday. ‘I understand there’s a business side of our game and tough decisions are always part of this time of year. Our job is to focus on things we can control and move forward.’
Newton signed a one-year, $5.4 million deal with the Patriots in March after going 7-8 last season as New England’s starter while tossing more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (eight). However, only his $1.5 million base salary is guaranteed, so the Patriots will still save some money by cutting Newton, even if they do incur a $3.6 million salary cap penalty for his release.
Furthermore, there remains a chance Newton could re-sign with the Patriots at a lower price if he can’t draw any significant interest as a free agent.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick (right) has denied that Cam Newton’s refusal to get vaccinated played a factor in his release, and added his own skepticism over the injection to boot
Cam Newton (right) , a former NFL MVP, replaced franchise legend Tom Brady last season, but was cut on Tuesday, clearing the way for first-round pick Mac Jones (left) to get the nod at quarterback. The 32-year-old Newton started each of New England’s three preseason games, but also missed practice time due to what the team described as a ‘misunderstanding’ about the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols
Belichick also expressed his own doubt about the vaccine to reporters.
‘Your implication that the vaccination solves every problem…has not been substantiated,’ he said, as quoted by NFL Network’s Michael Giardi. ‘The number of players and coaches and staff members who have been infected with COVID after being vaccinated is a pretty high number. I wouldn’t lose sight of that.’
Currently over 92 percent of NFL players and more than 99 percent of team staff are vaccinated, according to the league.
However, some vocal holdouts have criticized the NFL for refusing to to loosen COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players.
Now the NFL Players Association has launched an investigation in response to Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer’s admission that players’ vaccination statuses were factored into final roster cuts.
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah confirmed the union’s action in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday night.
Hours earlier, Meyer told reporters: ‘Everyone was considered. That was part of the 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.’
The NFL hasn’t mandated COVID-19 vaccines, but for unvaccinated players, the strict protocols of the 2020 season remain in place, including mask and distancing requirements, as well as daily testing.
What’s more costly – particularly for players on the periphery of NFL rosters – is a mandatory five-day quarantine for unvaccinated players who come into close contact with anyone infected with COVID-19. So even if players test negative for COVID-19, they could miss crucial playing time if they’re unvaccinated, due to contact tracing.