FOXBORO, MASS. (WHDH) - The New England Patriots are opening training camp Wednesday as the National Football League implements new COVID-19 rules.
The league sent a memo to all teams Monday night stating that all players, regardless of vaccination status, will be fined for refusing to wear tracking devices, and failing to get required virus testing.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says that the team is prepared to comply with the protocols put in place by the NFL.
“Whatever the protocols are, we’ll follow them, so those are individual decisions. There are categories for everybody. Wherever they fit, they fit,” he said.
About 15 percent of NFL players are reportedly unvaccinated.
The memo states that unvaccinated players must wear masks at all times except when masks interfere with athletic activity.
They will also face fines for attending social events such as concerts and bars.
Offensive captain David Andrews said, “It is what it is at the end of the day. I think everyone has jobs where maybe the don’t agree with something or don’t like something but it kind of is what it is…There’s going to be a lot more distractions throughout the year. The best thing we can do is try and come in each day and put in the work.”
Heading into training camp, the Patriots are already dealing with a COVID-19 issue. Second-year tight end Devin Asiasi has been put on the COVID-19 list after a positive test.
The 24-year-old is vaccinated and experienced some mild symptoms, according to the Boston Globe.
He will be allowed to return after producing two negative tests in a 24-hour span.
Defensive captain Devin McCourty says the coronavirus or issues surrounding getting vaccinated will not divide the team.
“We have to abide by whatever protocols and rules that they have from the league standpoint,” he said. “I don’t worry about any issue coming in between the team, making things tough for us to operate.”
Practice is set to begin at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.
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