NFLPA president JC Tretter rips teams' wristband use for unvaccinated players

BEREA, Ohio -- NFLPA president JC Tretter ripped the NFL teams that are forcing their unvaccinated players to wear wristbands, calling it an unnecessary move that publicly shames players.

"It's a nonsensical idea," the Cleveland Browns center said Thursday. "They say they need a differentiator between vaccinated and unvaccinated players. We already have a differentiator. The unvaccinated players need to wear masks. No other sports league uses any sort of scarlet marking or helmet decal or wristband, because they know it's not necessary and the teams know who's vaccinated, who's not vaccinated."

This week, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the NFL and the NFLPA remain at odds over the use of wristbands to identity unvaccinated players.

"So what it really comes down to is the NFL wanted to put a policy in place to try to shame unvaccinated players publicly about their status and make that known to everyone on the field," Tretter said. "It shouldn't be the case because it's unnecessary. We all know who's vaccinated and who's not, and it doesn't need to be a scarlet marking on people's helmets or wrists."

Although multiple teams are requiring their unvaccinated players to wear wristbands, the Browns are not among them.

"We're not dividing the team over this issue," coach Kevin Stefanski said.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter is among the players who expressed frustration over the league's COVID-19 protocols. That included not being allowed to have contact with his girlfriend and their newborn daughter Thursday at practice. Carter had to stand on the opposite side of a fence about 20 feet from them. Later, he noted in a tweet that he would be allowed to practice in two weeks at Indianapolis against "one of the least vaccinated teams."

The NFL announced Thursday that 87.9% of players have been vaccinated with at least one shot. All told, 19 teams have a player vaccination rate better than 90%, with seven of those teams above the 95% threshold.

The Colts, however, reportedly remain one of the least vaccinated teams in the league.

ESPN's David Newton and Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.