New York Jets QB Joe Flacco says he's not vaccinated for COVID-19, declines to explain why
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A few hours after being named the starter for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco walked into the team's indoor interview room wearing a mask.
NFL COVID-19 protocols require unvaccinated players to wear a mask at all times when indoors at a team facility. So Flacco was asked if he'd been vaccinated.
"I'm not vaccinated," Flacco said.
Players who aren't vaccinated are required to adhere to much more strict league protocols that make them far more likely to miss a game for COVID-related reasons, which is why knowing a player's vaccination status is relevant.
Unvaccinated players must test every day, instead of every week. If they test positive they must isolate for 10 days, not five before they can return. And non-vaccinated players can also be deemed a high-risk close contact and ruled out, whereas vaccinated players cannot.
Flacco was asked to explain why he's not vaccinated, but he declined.
"I feel like I definitely have my reasons," Flacco said. "I honestly probably would like to talk about this topic more than anybody. It's one of those things you debate with all the time. But I've overall felt like it's more of a distraction than anything. So I feel like to kind of talk about it too much and give you all my beliefs is more of a distraction than anything. I think the most important thing is going and playing a football game."
Flacco said he has no problem adhering to the extra COVID protocols required of non-vaccinated players.
"We've all been told what the protocols are and we're all following the protocols and we know that when something happens, that's what it is. And whether you believe it or not it is what it is. So if you want to go out there and play the game you love you've got to do what you have to do."
Flacco did not wear a mask in the same room on Oct. 28 in his first press conference after he was traded to the Jets, a violation of league protocols, but that was before the NFL sent out a memo to all 32 teams reminding them that all non-vaccinated players had to be masked at all times inside a team facility, including during interviews.