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Retired fullback Anthony Sherman compared the use of differently colored wristbands during NFL training camps to denote COVID-19 vaccination status to racial segregation.
"The @NFL is making players wear colored wrist bands now based on vaccination status," Sherman tweeted Saturday. "Funny, I thought we all agreed on the evils of segregation back in the 60s. Here we are again- only this time it’s based on personal health choices instead of skin color."
Sherman was referring to the decision some NFL teams have made about having their vaccinated players wear a wristband of one color, with unvaccinated players wearing a wristband of a different color. The NFL has put forth revised health and safety protocols for this season, with vaccinated players and staffers being subject to far less rigorous limitations.
Still, many players, such as Bills receiver Cole Beasley, Panthers linebacker Denzel Perryman and Washington Football Team defensive end Montez Sweat, among others, have pushed back against the vaccine and the league's protocols.
Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter, the president of the NFL Players Association criticized the NFL on Thursday over the issue of the differently colored wristbands, calling it "kind of a nonsensical idea."
The reactions to Sherman's tweet have largely been negative, with many pointing out how skin color and ethnicity is not a choice while deciding whether to get a vaccine is.
The @NFL is making players wear colored wrist bands now based on vaccination status. Funny, I thought we all agreed on the evils of segregation back in the 60s. Here we are again- only this time it’s based on personal health choices instead of skin color.
— Anthony Sherman (@Shermanator_42) July 31, 2021
One minute later, he posted another message, this one saying: "The league clearly values being woke, not awake. What a shame. And what a sham."
NFL league spokesman Brian McCarthy on Thursday released the following data regarding the vaccination rate of players: 87.9% of players have had at least one shot, 19 teams have more than 90% of their players vaccinated and seven teams have more than 95% of their players vaccinated.
Sherman, 32, played 10 years in the NFL from 2011-20. All but two of those seasons were with the Kansas City Chiefs, with his first two being with the Arizona Cardinals. In his career, Sherman caught 66 passes for 552 yards with four touchdowns and added 28 carries for 73 yards and one rushing touchdown.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Anthony Sherman likens COVID-19 vaccination wristbands to segregation