The Indianapolis Colts announced massive news for fans this week when they confirmed training camp will return to Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield.
Not only will fans be able to take in all the action, but there won’t be any capacity restrictions, meaning crowds of fans will be able to attend. That revelation was followed up by the Colts announcing that they were approved to host full capacity games at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2021.
All good, right? For the most part. This bombardment of positive news has unfortunately been overshadowed by the Colts’ alarmingly low vaccination rate as a team.
There’s simply no hiding from this situation, and general manager Chris Ballard experienced this firsthand during an interview with Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, who asked him what the Colts’ plans are if players insist on remaining unvaccinated.
Chris Ballard opened up about the Colts’ low vaccination rate.
As uncomfortable a platform as this might’ve been for Ballard, the fifth-year GM did a superb job assessing the situation. On top of that, his stance regarding whether players should get vaccinated will hopefully inspire more players to do so.
"“One thing about our group is they’re very mature and they’ll handle whatever decisions are made,” Ballard told Kravitz. “If we’re not above the 85-percent mark, we’ll handle it with all that comes with it, the social distancing and everything else.”"
Well, getting above the 85% threshold might be difficult for Indy, because as of two weeks ago they were below the 50% mark.
"“Do I think our guys should be vaccinating? Yes, absolutely. But we’re not going to force people. Encourage it? Absolutely. Absolutely. I think it’s the right thing to do for our club and our country, but it’s an individual decision to make. . .”"
It’s just an unfortunate development. Not only will Indy have to go through largely unnecessary health and safety protocols again, but the potential consequences of a player testing positive for COVID-19 would be amplified ten fold if these low rates linger into the start of 2021.
Ballard also revealed that the Colts have had health experts and public health officials try to educate players on the benefits of receiving the vaccine. The fifth-year GM admitted it was an easy decision for him and his family, and he’s hopeful that his players will come around “as time passes and we learn more about it.”
We’ll continue to update this situation as we get closer to training camp and more information becomes available, but right now Colts fans have every reason to be concerned.
After all, if it takes a public service announcement from your general manager to encourage players to get vaccinated, it’s probably time to keep an eye on the situation.