Hazelwood Central vs. Hazelwood East

A September 2018 high school football game between Hazelwood East and Hazelwood Central.  In 2020 St. Louis County Executive Sam Page restricted scrimmages and practices because of a rise of COVID-19 cases linked to youth sports. Schools are still struggling with balancing COIVD concerns and safety. 

Playing a sport means being told what to do. If you can’t get with that, your career is going to be short lived.

It’s not insulting. It’s a reality.

Therefore, athletic departments, especially at the high school level, should have done a much better job of helping get young people vaccinated.

“If you don’t get vaccinated, you don’t play.” This simple mandate would certainly help Black communities throughout the US. All the vaccine hesitancy would have been replaced with “where do I go to get my shot?”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on a local radio station on Aug. 20 that “any athlete, any coach has to get a first [vaccine] dose by the time they play or practice for the first time.”

He, and the city health department, are not ordering all students and teachers to be vaccinated.

“Athletes need to be vaccinated due to their higher risk of contracting the disease,” he said.

This obviously would not play out well in many regions of the nation. I’m sure there are New York parents that have already contacted their respective attorneys. 

So what. Damn the COVID-A athletes in football, basketball, hockey, volleyball and bowling [yes, bowling] must be vaccinated. Baseball, soccer, tennis, track and gymnastics athletes get a pass, which the mayor should not allow. But beggars can’t be choosers, and I’ve been begging for people to get vaccinated since the middle of last winter.

In all, more than 20,000 athletes [and their families] must decide if principle, fear, conspiracy theories or right-wing antics will cause them to miss their respective upcoming seasons.

“We owe it to our young people to make it possible for them to safely return to the sports they love,” said New York Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter.

“This vaccine mandate will ensure everyone on high-risk teams are protected.”

America remains “high risk” because there have not been enough vaccine mandates. This move should have come months ago, and it should be followed by every school district in the nation.

It certainly will not, and that’s what makes New York’s stand one that should be applauded, not booed.

A cut above

The NFL laid down the law when it came to vaccinations before the heat of summer was upon us. Unvaccinated players must follow all the protocols from last season, including daily testing. Vaccinated players do not.

The league is now at a reported 75% overall vaccination rate. It jumped up a few percentage points last week after rosters were reduced from 95 to 85 players.  Word on the street is that once rosters are reduced to 53 next week, the NFL will surpass the 85% “herd immunity” that the US so desperately needs to reach. No mandate needed.


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