Sam Darnold's vaccine hesitancy shows NFL players are 'microcosm of our country'

10:52 AM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold triggered a strong social media reaction on Wednesday by uttering five words.

“I haven’t been vaccinated yet.”

The third pick of the 2018 draft, who was, of course, referring to the COVID-19 vaccine, had everything from his leadership to his intelligence to his ability to make decisions questioned.

However, Darnold’s not the lone NFL player who has made the choice not to be vaccinated in what the league and NFL Players Association has made clear is a personal decision.

Despite being encouraged by the NFLPA to get vaccinated and take advantage of being able to interact with teammates in meetings, not having to take daily COVID tests and traveling without restrictions if fully vaccinated, many players have taken Darnold’s position.

Vaccinated players remain subject to daily testing, wearing a mask at team facilities, social distancing and will have to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus. They also won’t be able to interact with family and friends when the team is on the road and cannot eat in the cafeteria at the team facility.

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