University of Hawaii football coach Todd Graham advocated for COVID-19 vaccines in the beginning of spring ball. He did so again during the start of fall camp on Friday, emphasizing how pivotal a role it would play for the team to proceed with all of its games as scheduled in 2021.
As it stands, the Mountain West Conference plans to not test vaccinated players for COVID-19 tests. If a given team is unable to play due to a COVID-19 outbreak, then the game will count as a forfeit and not a cancellation.
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Whereas former UH coach Nick Rolovich made waves by announcing his decision to not take a COVID-19 vaccine without an explanation further than his original tweet, Graham said he did his research and hopes others do the same.
“Obviously, that’s something we encourage our guys to do and at the end of the day, each one of them’s gotta make their own personal choice. For me, I’m not just coaching out here at 56, I was pretty eager to get it,” Graham said following Friday’s practice. “I didn’t just get it, I researched it and looked at it, and that’s why I feel comfortable in encouraging someone else to do it and my son also plays on the team and my son is vaccinated so I think obviously as a family that’s what our decision was and how we made it. But obviously it’s each person’s choice and we just follow the procedures that the university sets for us and to keep our players safe.”
It is believed that the majority of the UH football team is vaccinated, although Graham wasn’t able to put a percentage on it.
“I don’t know exactly where that’s at right now,” Graham said. “I think it’s pretty good.”
Certain freedoms have been given to vaccinated members of the football team, including the full use of the locker room, which wasn’t made available in 2020.
“Only the vaccinated is allowed to use the locker room right now and if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not allowed in there. It feels good just to be around the boys again,” sophomore linebacker Darius Muasau said. “That’s the whole thing about football — just building a bond and the brotherhood with your teammates, it just means a lot to be in that locker room.
“Of course everyone has their own beliefs and whatever they believe, if they want the vaccine or not, that’s their choice but we’re encouraging our teammates to take the vaccine. Of course, we want the best for everyone just to be safe.”