According to the NFL, 93.5 percent of players were vaccinated as of last week with three of the league’s 32 franchises—the Falcons, Buccaneers and Raiders—reporting 100-percent vaccination rates. That’s encouraging, though with the increased prevalence of forged vaccination cards, many are beginning to question how accurate those numbers really are.
In an interview with Kalyn Kahler of Defector Media, one NFL agent shared that a client recently asked him to procure a fake vax card after learning his teammate had successfully used one. Another agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of players were guilty of using counterfeit cards to bypass the league’s COVID protocol. “I think it's a lot more common than people realize,” that same agent expressed to Kahler. “You’re talking about the NFL. These guys do anything they can to fudge a weed test or a PED test.”
While many players received their vaccines on site at team facilities, a significant number didn’t, leaving open the possibility that some could have duped the NFL with fraudulent vaccine cards. The NFL stressed in its presentations to teams this offseason that submitting a phony vax card is both a federal crime and grounds for league discipline. However, that apparently hasn’t stopped players from circumventing the rules.
“[I] was told by a player tonight that a big-name guy on his team has a fake card,” one agent revealed to Kahler, suggesting bogus vax cards are an open secret among NFL players. “Players know.”
It’s unclear how the NFL plans to address this issue, if at all. Without a database to verify authenticity, teams are essentially held to the honor system, scrutinizing cards at their own discretion. “Staying far away from that one,” said one agent who declined to be interviewed for Kahler’s story posted to Defector Friday morning. “I don’t ask questions I don’t want to know answers to.”