Bill Belichick took heat this week for his contention that “[the] implication that vaccination solves every problem … has not been substantiated.”
The comments, seemingly intended to avoid any trouble for cutting unvaccinated quarterback Cam Newton — the kind of trouble that Urban Meyer is facing with an NFLPA investigation into vaccination status being connected to the Jaguars’ final cuts — weren’t explicitly anti-vax, but sure did land wrong, because the COVID-19 vaccines are helpful in keeping people from catching the virus, and highly effective at preventing the most serious problems that come with infection. Those stats are borne out in the NFL’s own testing data.
But while Belichick’s message was poorly framed, there was a point he made that was spot on. Vaccination alone is not enough to get us out of this mess. Thank goodness, for instance, that Lane Kiffin made the good decision to get tested, even though he’s vaccinated, and found out that he had a breakthrough case before traveling to Atlanta for Ole Miss’ season opener.
Kiffin is only one of a few breakthrough cases in the sports world just this weekend, demonstrating that you absolutely can still get COVID-19 even after getting the jab. Hall of Famer Johnny Bench did, causing him to miss this weekend’s festivities in Cooperstown.
Bench is fortunate that his vaccine helped him avoid a much worse case of coronavirus, but even among the vaccinated, it can still be a deadly illness. Vaccination is a huge part of getting this pandemic under control and eventually over with, but especially as the delta variant rages, we need to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and try to stop the spread. It’s still an extremely serious situation with 1,500 Americans a day now losing their lives.
And now Oscar De La Hoya is in the hospital, despite being fully vaccinated.
De La Hoya was scheduled to take on former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort next Saturday night in Los Angeles as part of Triller Fight Club. Instead, Belfort will head to Hollywood, Fla., and face 58-year-old Evander Holyfield, who couldn’t get licensed in California quickly enough to make a bout happen… because he’s 58 years old.
Holyfield first won the world heavyweight title in 1990, a couple of months before Belichick won his second Super Bowl… as a defensive coordinator with the Giants. There is still no vaccine to even begin to combat washed-up fighters from stepping into the ring for one last payday, no matter how bad of an idea it seems.