Colts encourage but won’t mandate vaccinations

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The Indianapolis Colts are reportedly among the teams with the lowest player vaccination rates in the league and while the team encourages getting it, general manager Chris Ballard won’t make it a mandate.

The league has all but mandated getting the vaccine for COVID-19 when they released the protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players for the 2021 season. There is a stark difference between the two, giving players the incentive to get vaccinated.

But Ballard told Fox59 on Wednesday that the team won’t mandate getting the vaccine.

“There’s no doubt (the topic of vaccinations) can be a little sticky, but we give our players the choice,” Ballard said via Dave Griffiths of Fox59. “We’re not gonna mandate that everybody get vaccinated.”

The Colts had their share of run-ins with COVID-19 during the 2020 season. There were times when some key players missed crucial games because they either contracted the virus or were deemed a close contact to someone that did.

Remember the brutal Week 12 blowout loss against the Tennessee Titans without All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner? One would think the Colts players would want to avoid that scenario at all costs.

But the decision to not get it is within the players’ rights, and many of them have been asking for more information so that they can do what they feel is the right move.

Even so, Ballard said the team will take it in stride and deal with whatever consequences that may come about if an unvaccinated player contracts the virus during the season.

“It’s a personal choice for everybody in our community, everybody in our country, and everybody on our team,” said Ballard. “We’re encouraging it, but saying that, we’ll deal with whatever we have to deal with. We saw that we can handle what we had to deal with last year, and whatever the numbers are this year, we’ll deal with it again.”

This will certainly be something to keep an eye on if the Colts remain among the teams with low vaccination rates and if key players miss time because of their decision to not get the vaccine, it could have an impact on the outcome of games during the 2021 season.

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