After previously expressing his reluctance to receive any coronavirus vaccines—a decision he deemed “too personal” to confirm or deny publicly—it should come as no surprise that unvaccinated quarterback Cam Newton’s attempts to adhere to the NFL’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols have gone awry.
ESPN reports that the three-time Pro Bowler will be separated from the rest of his team until Thursday due to a “misunderstanding” on COVID-19 tests “conducted away from NFL facilities,” the New England Patriots announced in a statement on Monday.
“He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative,” the statement read. “Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility.”
It’s unclear what the “misunderstanding” is that will force the 32-year-old to stay away from the team, but the NFL has strict rules about test types, testing locations, and specimen collection in order to protect players, fans, and team personnel. It should also be noted that per league protocol, only unvaccinated players are subject to daily COVID-19 testing, and should said player miss their league-mandated test, they aren’t allowed to re-enter team facilities until they’ve submitted negative tests for five straight days. Take five seconds to connect the dots and, well, that tells you everything you need to know about whether or not Newton has opted to get vaccinated.
The timing couldn’t be worse for the Auburn product, as the Patriots have yet to name their starting quarterback for their upcoming season. That means that with rookie Mac Jones already hot on his ass, Cam is sabotaging his own chances at securing what very well might be his last opportunity to be a starter at the NFL level.
He’s also putting the Patriots at significant risk, as the NFL has informed teams that should unvaccinated players trigger COVID-19 outbreaks among their teammates and team personnel, the team is subject to the forfeiture of games. There are also reports that Cam’s refusal to get vaccinated has triggered a “level of frustration internally” within the team, and as its supposed leader, this ain’t a good look.