FRISCO, Texas -- Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin is disappointed that the Dallas Cowboys are not among the teams to reach the 85% vaccine threshold that would ease COVID-19 restrictions during training camp, which begins this week.
"Yeah, and it should upset them," Irvin said of the Cowboys recently at the opening of the Dallas chapter of Merging Vets & Players, which brings together combat veterans and former pro athletes. "It should upset them. Dude, you're not thinking right. You're not thinking right. Whatever you got, I don't give a damn. ... Nothing else can be more important.
"You're not going to get this [winning a Super Bowl] easily. Nothing else could be more important. ... Jimmy [Johnson] made that abundantly clear [during Irvin's playing career]. Nothing else is more important. And not being one of the [teams] says there's other things to a great number of people on this team that are more important than winning championships, and that makes me worried."
While the Cowboys have not reached the vaccine threshold, their percentage of vaccinated players is not known. A source told ESPN's Kevin Seifert that 13 NFL teams have reached the threshold. The Cowboys will have a lab at their Oxnard, California, training camp site to test unvaccinated players on a daily basis and vaccinated players weekly.
Buffalo Bills receiver Cole Beasley, a former Cowboy who has been outspoken in his opposition to the vaccine and coronavirus-related protocols, disputed Irvin's conclusion about the Dallas players' commitment to winning based on their vaccination percentages.
That's not what that means. You can be vaccinated and not do all the right things football wise to be at your best. All it means is players are gonna be out there with covid and we won't know cause they only get tested once a week so the NFL can make their money. https://t.co/VukRFeeOp3— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) July 19, 2021
Unvaccinated players will not be able to leave the team hotel and must wear masks and remain distanced from people inside the facility, according to protocols. Vaccinated players will not be required to wear masks, can eat meals with other vaccinated players and have no limitations in the weight room.
While Irvin's comments were directly related to the Cowboys, his stance is the same regardless of the team.
"If you're not one of them teams [at the threshold], are you really thinking about winning a championship? You see what I'm saying," he said. "OK, so now if you're not getting vaccinated and you got all these other teams that are getting vaccinated ..."
As a player, Irvin said, he would do more than encourage teammates to get vaccinated.
"Somebody in that damn locker room [should say], 'Hey man, we're going to have a chance, are you vaccinated?'" Irvin said. "Let's go through this because this could be a two-week healthy dude missing games, and in this league, this ain't the NBA. In this league that could be it for you. The right person misses two weeks, that's it. Your ass is out."