ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has not been quiet regarding the COVID vaccination and restrictions surrounding NFL players who aren't vaccinated.
This summer, Beasley shared his hesitancy with the vaccination and its effectiveness in several viral social media posts.
After the team’s first Training Camp practice on Wednesday, Beasley spoke to the media for the first time since his posts went viral and read a prepared statement.
“I wanted to start this off by saying I’m not anti- or pro-vax. I’m pro-choice. With that being said, the issue at hand is — information is being withheld from players in order for a player to be swayed in a direction he may not be comfortable with. When dealing with player’s health and safety, there should be complete transparency regarding information that is vital in the decision-making process.
"Without having all the proper information, a player can feel misguided and unsure about a very personal choice. It makes a player feel unprotected and gives concerns about the future topics regarding health and our ability to make educated decisions."
Last week, the NFL sent out a memo detailing what unvaccinated players would be subject to if a game was postponed or canceled over a team's COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players.
Beasley, who's been outspoken about not being vaccinated, had a problem with the NFL's policy for unvaccinated players, which included being tested daily, continuously wearing a mask inside facilities, and during training.
Vaccinated players are not required to follow those guidelines.
"Some people may think that I’m being selfish and making this a 'me' thing. It’s all about the young players who don’t have a voice and are reaching out to me every day because they’re being told if they don’t get vaccinated - they’ll be cut," Beasley said. "Agents are being told by teams that if they have un-vaccinated guys, they will not be given opportunities as of now to be seen in workouts.
"So once un-vaccinated players get cut, they’re losing a dream they have worked their whole lives for over a vaccine that has proven to not keep people from contracting COVID, as we’ve seen. Every doctor I’ve gone to with questions begins every sentence with “from what we know now,” which tells me we don’t know enough. The NFLPA is working to have vaccinated players tested more frequently than what the NFL initially stated. A lot of players got the vaccination with the idea that these rules were already set in stone, and they’re not.
"It is common sense that if a vaccinated or un-vaccinated player is tested less frequently, the likelihood of a player being pulled for COVID drops dramatically.
In regard to player safety, I will conclude by saying we all wanna be safe. For so many players around the NFL, safety does not solely mean avoiding the COVID virus. Our health is the now and the years beyond which we are trying to protect with our personal choice while doing all the things we did in our protocol during a very successful 2020 NFL season.”
Some of Beasley’s teammates have supported his statements, while others responded with their own opinions. He and defensive end Jerry Hughes exchanged a conversation on Twitter, and while some may have perceived it as an argument, Beasley said otherwise.
“A lot of the stuff is noise. Inside, it’s a brotherhood, and we fight each day for each other,” he said. “Jerry and I are brothers. We had a conversation on the phone immediately after, talked it through, and weren’t mad at each other. Not everybody agrees with everything, and it doesn’t mean you don’t like them. I love all my teammates no matter what they want to do. As long as you come out here and do what you want to do to help us be great, then I’m cool.”
Beasley added that he plans to have no further comments on social media about the COVID vaccine.
General Manager Brandon Beane told reporters before practice that “just over 80%” of the players have received at least one dose of the vaccine. At the same time, the entire coaching staff is fully vaccinated.
Jenna Callari at WKBW first reported this story.