On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs beat a very depleted Dallas Cowboys who were missing quite a few key starters. This includes wide receiver Amari Cooper, one of Dallas’s most capable offensive weapons. Cooper was out due to a positive COVID-19 test, and while many blame Dallas’s loss to the Chiefs on Cooper’s decision to not be vaccinated, quarterback Dak Prescott is standing behind his decision and urges people not to come down on his teammate.
“Let’s not try to knock the guy or put the guy down for a personal decision,” said Prescott at the post-game interview when asked about Cooper.
“That’s my teammate. That’s my brother. I’m going to continue to back him and support him. This is everybody’s personal decision,” Prescott added.
While it was a sad loss to the Chiefs by America’s team, this post-interview moment is being highlighted just as much as the loss with mixed reactions. Many are blaming Cooper’s “selfishness” of not getting the vaccine resulting in the loss. While Cooper’s absence was a factor, it’s hardly all on Cooper’s shoulders as the Cowboys are also out of other key offensive and defensive players such as Randy Gregory, Tyron Smith, Demarcus Lawrence, and even lost wide receiver Ceedee Lamb at the half.
But stepping back for a moment and looking at the grand scheme of things, getting these vaccines is no guarantee that you won’t catch the virus. Even Anthony Fauci has recently admitted that hospitalizations among the vaccinated are increasing.
Cooper could have been vaccinated and still gotten the virus. It happens.
But more importantly is the attitude Prescott has toward Cooper’s decision to not be vaccinated, which is to simply say that he supports his personal decision about it. It’s a position that will surely come under attack in the headlines, though it has yet to as of this writing.
Prescott is treating his teammate as an adult who can make personal decisions for themselves. It would appear that refusal of vaccination among NFL players isn’t uncommon. There were hints of this while Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was going through his COVID-19 scandal when he and former Colts player and podcast host Pat McAfee discussed his teammate’s reactions to him standing up to the NFL on it.
Cooper’s not the first player to be taken out over a positive COVID test and he likely won’t be the last, but Prescott’s position makes it clear that when these things do happen, it’ll be a rare case to see that player’s teammates actually angry about it. Many could take a page out of Prescott’s book in the general public, however.
We should respect the personal decisions of individuals.