Raise your hand if you have Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones being the voice of reason and common sense when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations on your 2021 bingo card.
I’m sure it won’t take long to call roll, but here we are.
Jones has it right about his team, the NFL and society when it comes to the reason for getting the vaccine.
“To me, this is a team game,” Jones began on his radio show Tuesday on 105.3 FM “The Fan.”
“We rely on each other to play. We rely on each other to win. And you certainly don’t want to be doing anything that causes your teammates to not be available. All of that comes to the same conclusion as far as what you agreed to be as far as a player, be part of a team. You check ‘I’ at the door so to speak.”
Jones understands people who say it’s a personal choice and they have a right to make a decision for themselves.
He says that freedom stops when you leave your front door in a pandemic. It’s now about the common good.
“Everyone has a right to make their own decisions regarding their health and their body,” Jones said. “I believe in that completely until your decisions as to yourself impacts negatively many others. Then, the common good takes over. That has everything to do with the way I look at our team, the Cowboys, or the way I look at our society. We have got to check ‘I’ at the door and go forward with ‘we.’ Your Dallas Cowboys are doing that.”
This is not just Jones talking to be talking. The Cowboys are in the midst of the storm right now.
Four players are on the COVID-19 list, including safeties Malik Hooker and Israel Mukuamu, receiver CeeDee Lamb and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is away from the team in COVID-19 protocols.
Two of the players tested positive and two are considered close contacts.
It’s an unfortunate situation for the Cowboys as they head into the final preseason game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But the situation was mitigated because the Cowboys have a high vaccination rate among staff and players.
The coaching staff is 100% vaccinated. And the team is en route to being there, Jones said.
“Our team is, for all practical purposes, totally vaccinated,” Jones said. “I think there’s, as of this morning, there may be four or five of our players that haven’t received their full dose or not the main dose, if that’s a term, of the vaccine. Of course we’re experiencing to some degree what a lot of people are. You can catch it having been vaccinated. You can catch it having been vaccinated and had the virus. But it’s just not as severe and threatening this time around.”
The devil is in the details.
According to NFL rules, vaccinated players or staff who test positive and are asymptomatic can return to duty after two negative tests 24 hours apart.
If a fully vaccinated player or coach tests positive and has symptoms, then he must remain in isolation until he has been symptom free for 48 hours and has had two negative tests separated by 24 hours. Non-vaccinated persons who test positive follow the 2020 protocols, including a 10-day isolation.
The NFL put these rules in place because they don’t want to miss games as they did last year, thus costing it and Jones money.
If a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week schedule due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will forfeit.
In addition, players on both teams will not be paid for the lost contest, and the team responsible for the canceled game will cover financial losses and be subject to potential discipline from the commissioner’s office.
It’s in the best interest of the players, the team and Jones for everyone to be vaccinated.
So yes, Jones is standing on the side of right.
Now, a cynic would say if Jones really cared about the common good and safety, he would require masks at AT&T Stadium.
According to a source, there was some advocacy within the Cowboys organization regarding a mask policy but they ultimately did not want to defy an anti-mask mandate from Gov. Greg Abbott and risk a lawsuit. Abbott’s executive order dealing with masks applies only to governmental entities.
Jones will also point out that the Cowboys had the highest attendance for games last season and didn’t have any reported outbreaks.
Jones is hoping and praying that this year there will more vaccinated fans in attendance.
“Every team of course will conform to what the local or state protocols are, and whatever they are they are,” Jones said. “In general what’s different this year is the vaccine, and the vaccine has removed any realistic concern about the teams competing or the teams competing before a full house of football fans.
“Last year, your Cowboys in terms of attendance were the most successful of all. We’ll remember and use what we learned last year and we will obviously use that in the fact we have this vaccine available.”
Jones not only wants his players to vaccinated but he wants the fans to be as well.
Jones is right.
It’s best for the common good.