NHL player stands firm in rejecting COVID shot, prefers to skip some games

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A National Hockey League (NHL) player is standing firm in his decision not to get jabbed with COVID shots.

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi must sit out 10 days under the NHL’s COVID protocols for this season. It remains unclear if Bertuzzi tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who had COVID.

“Under NHL rules, teams will be permitted to suspend unvaccinated players who are ‘unable to participate in club activities,’ whether due to a positive test for COVID-19 or due to an inability to travel because of government restrictions,” CBS Sports previously reported.

Bertuzzi could not travel to Canada due to its vaccine passport requirement, so he had to sit out those games regardless of his current COVID status.

“It’s a personal choice, freedom of choice, and life choice,” Bertuzzi said in September. “It’s a personal choice, and I made it.”

He could miss out on $400,000 in pay due to not being able to play in Canada alone, USA Today previously calculated.

Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman supports Bertuzzi’s medical freedom.

“It’s his decision,” Yzerman said. “I am not in a position to force anyone. We can’t force anyone to get vaccinated. I personally am vaccinated, my family is vaccinated. I’ll leave it at that.”

Vaccinated players have also been sidelined

Bertuzzi is not the only player to be placed in quarantine, as many players considered fully-jabbed have entered the COVID protocols.

“Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway has been placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and is unavailable for Monday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, the team has announced,” NBC Sports reported. “Hathaway is now the third Washington player currently in the protocol joining teammates Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk.”

Other players include St. Louis Blues’ players Justin Faulk and Tyler Bozak. The team has had “nine players be placed in the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list,” this season alone, Fox 2 reported.

Other presumably jabbed players who have had to sit out games this season include Jakob Silfverberg of the Anaheim Ducks, six different Chicago Blackhawks’ players and two players with the Colorado Avalanche. Sporting News has a tracker last updated as of November 8 that lists players and team personnel who were placed in protocols.

The NHL had to postpone two New York Islanders’ games at the end of November because of an outbreak of COVID among fully-vaccinated players. It’s not the only instance of game cancellation this season.

“The NHL postponed three Ottawa Senators games in mid-November because of that team’s virus outbreak,” News 10 reported.

The National Basketball Association has also grappled with how to implement vaccination protocols.

NBA player Brandon Goodwin accused the Atlanta Hawks, his team at the time, of downplaying his blood clots — which he said he developed after getting jabbed.

“I got sick, then I never recovered from it,” Goodwin said in October 2021. “I would always have back pain. I was just super tired in the games, like when we played Philly [Apr. 28-30] back-to-back.”

“Bro, I was so tired, like I couldn’t run up and down the court,” the former Atlanta Hawks player, now with the New York Knicks, said on his Twitch stream. “Then we went home, that’s when my back really started hurting bad. Then I’m like I have to go to the doctor, that’s when I found out I had blood clots.”

His blood clots were reported as “minor” and a “respiratory condition.”

Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac has also attracted attention for refusing to get jabbed and mentioning breakthrough infections among players who have taken the COVID shots.