Let me be upfront right here, even though not a single person who will try and come for my credibility will even open the article.
I am not anti-vaccine. I am not giving medical advice because I am not a doctor, nor do I know your medical history. If you have any questions about the Covid-19 virus or vaccine, please consult with your doctor. Not Twitter, not people on TV or the Internet, not even your friends, and family, but a doctor who is familiar with you, your medical history, and your full medical breakdown. If you do not like what one doctor tells you, go consult with a second doctor who has the same information.
The last few weeks have seen football Twitter become an unbelievably toxic environment that is not good for anyone to be a part of. Twitter as a whole is not a healthy place for anyone to be ever, but when most members of one community are all screaming about one thing at everyone who passes by, it only gets worse.
What has gotten football Twitter so riled up? Covid-19 vaccinations and NFL players who choose whether or not to get it.
The NFL and NFLPA are pushing for 85% of the players in the league to be vaccinated before the beginning of the 2021 season. The NFLPA is encouraging all of the players to get the vaccine, the NFL is changing guidelines and protocols to essentially force players to become vaccinated, and the teams across the league are bringing in experts and speakers to give lectures on why the vaccine is important.
The NFLPA and NFL have made it a violation to cut a player who for vaccine-related reasons, but many general managers around the league are looking for ways around that rule, especially when the roster has to be cut to 53.
However, over the last few weeks, several players across the league have sounded off on social media and in press conferences about not wanting to get the vaccine. Their reasoning has varied, from feeling uncomfortable with what is in the vaccine to just being contrarian. These players are still subject to daily testing, strict schedules, and limited to no access to team facilities, but they have made the decision they did, despite these limitations.
Personal responsibility is cursed, however, because Twitter has decided they know what is best for these players. If a player publicly decides to oppose the vaccine, they trend on Twitter for hours, with almost every single tweet being an attack on that player’s decision. No matter who they are, or what their credentials are, or who they are affiliated with, Twitter users need to weigh in and signal that they also think that position is stupid.
That type of thinking and dialogue concerning a medical issue is beyond dangerous.
You can blame certain individuals, because, again, personal responsibility be cursed, but the reality is that almost any conversation that happens on Twitter will inevitably become divisive. People are addicted to being contrarian or arguing or being right, and often people refuse to change their opinion or admit to being wrong, so any conversation can become a heated situation. So, of course, the conversation around vaccines immediately took to Twitter and brought out the worst in people.
However, that conversation should absolutely not be happening on Twitter. It should not be happening on television or Youtube. It should be happening in a doctor’s office, between an individual and a doctor who knows everything about their medical breakdown and medical history.
Doctors study for nearly a decade to be able to practice medicine, and then still have to work hard and claw their way up the career ladder to even be in a position to treat patients. When they are armed with a patient’s medical breakdown and history, they can help individuals become and stay healthier, live longer, and make the best medical decisions for themselves.
Are they impervious to making mistakes? Of course not, but they are responsible for those mistakes, which is why they will often suggest getting a second opinion from another doctor who has the same information.
Anytime a person makes a medical decision, from vaccines to having optional surgeries, or even taking a new medication/supplement/vitamin, they should consult with a doctor. The human body is a stupidly complex puzzle that even after thousands and thousands of years, we are still trying to figure out to this day. A minor change in your extremely delicate and sensitive body could either do nothing or send the whole system into shock, and a doctor armed with your information is the best person on the planet to let you know which is more likely.
However, and this may shock you, most Twitter users are not doctors. As a matter of fact, I would go out on a limb and say that less than .001% of Twitter are medical doctors. Most journalists are not medical doctors. Most TV personalities, most internet personalities, most podcasters, most politicians, most actors/actresses are not medical doctors. This includes, but is not limited to, Joe Rogan, Adam Schefter, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, and Donald Trump.
Even if, miraculously, you have found a medical doctor online who is giving out advice, they are not armed with your personal medical history and information. They do not know what is best for you, because in reality, they do not even know you. If they do have your personal medical info, then they are not giving you advice online, because that violates an insane amount of HIPAA guidelines and regulations.
No one is equipped to give anyone medical advice and guidance except for that person’s doctor.
When Twitter gets on one of their infamous mass shaming waves and comes after an individual, whether it be a football player or anyone else, for not being vaccinated, it is extremely dangerous.
Most Twitter users did not go to nearly a decade of medical school to become medical doctors. No Twitter users should have an individuals’ medical information and history. Twitter can not be held responsible for medical malpractice or for giving out terrible medical advice. Twitter users do not have an understanding of medical law, or FDA guidelines, or the infinite amount of other medical guidelines and restrictions in place, especially in the United States.
Therefor, Twitter users should not be giving out medical advice.
I get it. We all just went through this last year together. Many people lost loved ones. Our mental states were not good beforehand but were absolutely destroyed by the lockdowns. Millions lost their jobs, and most of those are never coming back. Some lost their life’s work, or even generation’s of their family’s hard work when they had to lock the doors on their businesses forever. It has been a rough 15 months, and the light at the end of the tunnel is actually within reach, and I would do anything to finally just pass through that light.
However, shaming individuals, including NFL players, through massive waves of tweets about their medical decisions is not only not helpful in getting us through the tunnel, but is also only serving to make the world we find on that side of the tunnel a worse one. If that individual has consulted with their doctor or the team doctor and found that the vaccine is not right for them, then you absolutely are not in a position to tell them they are wrong.
This is not all an attack on Twitter users, as the NFL’s new vaccine guidelines are just as bad as the public shaming is as. If a player does not get the vaccine, they are set up to fail, with the inability to use most of the team facilities (including the cafeteria) and inability to be an active member of the team.
There also do not appear to be any room for exceptions, so if a player’s doctor tells him that he should not get the vaccine because he is likely to have an adverse reaction to it (allergic reaction, inflammation of pre-existing blood issues), that player will have 90% less access to team facilities, equipment, and meetings.
This is the NFL decided that they know what is best for their players, despite not being their doctor, and it is beyond dangerous. If a player decides to go against his doctor’s orders and get the vaccine because the NFL said they had to have access to the trainers and facilities he needs to be successful, and he has a reaction to that vaccine dose, the NFL could potentially end up with blood on its hands. They likely would not have to answer to the general public for that death, because remember, dissent is sin, but I will guarantee that the NFLPA will definitely have something to say about it.
The NFL does not have a great track record with player health and player safety issues (almost forgot to remember the CTE scandal this week), and if you think Roger Goodell is in any position to be making these type of decisions, you are wrong, because, in case you are wondering, he also is not a doctor.
The whole conversation around vaccines and Covid-19 is already tainted and nasty, but tribalism and signaling be cursed. It is irresponsible to give medical advice, or essentially force a medical decision, on someone if you are not their doctor and do not have a full knowledge of their medical history/information. The NFL is making just as bad a decision with their new guidelines as anyone taking advice from Twitter would be.