Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley says that NFL players are not opposed to the league’s new policy requiring them to get a pre-season vaccination for meningitis, but they want their “proper information.”
Cole Beasley, a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, says that the NFL’s gripe about players not being vaccinated is over differing standards. He wants players to have proper information on vaccines before making an opinion.
2:11 p.m. Eastern Time
ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques
NEW YORK — BUFFALO, N.Y. — Wide receiver Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills, who has spoken out against the NFL’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, tried to explain his position on Wednesday, stating his issue with the league is the disparity in standards between vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
“I’m neither anti-vax or pro-vax — I’m pro-choice,” Beasley said after the Bills’ first session of training camp, reading from a prepared statement. “With that stated, the problem at hand is withholding information from players in order to influence a player in a path he may not be comfortable with.
“When it comes to a player’s health and safety, information that is critical in the decision-making process should be completely transparent. A player may feel misled and uncertain about a highly personal decision if they do not have all of the necessary facts. It makes the player feel vulnerable and raises worries about future health issues and our capacity to make informed choices.”
Last month, Beasley tweeted that he was not vaccinated and will continue to “enjoy my one life how I want,” in response to the NFL’s policy, which severely limits unvaccinated athletes while enabling vaccinated players to return to near-normalcy.
For unvaccinated athletes, NFL rules include more regular testing, masks, and social distance in the team facilities and during team travel.
However, it was the frequency of testing that Beasley was most critical of: under the rules regulating preseason and training camp, unvaccinated athletes would be forced to be tested daily, while vaccinated players will only be obliged to test every two weeks.
“It’s self-evident that if a vaxxed or unvaxxed player gets tested less often, the chances of getting removed for COVID decrease significantly,” he added. “To sum up, when it comes to player safety, we all want to be safe.
“For many athletes in the NFL, safety is more than just avoiding the COVID virus. Our health is what matters now and in the future, and we’re attempting to preserve it with our own choices while following our procedure throughout a very successful 2020 NFL season.”
Brandon Beane, the Bills’ general manager, spoke briefly on the team’s vaccination rate on Wednesday, stating that it is slightly over 80%. Beane also said that Beasley’s or any other player’s social media remarks on the vaccine would not distract from the team’s general focus now that training camp has started.
“Sometimes something comes out on social media,” Beane said, “and you don’t know how to interpret it.” “You know, I’ve had quite a few discussions with a few of the men.” It’s a challenge. Guys are attempting to educate themselves and consider all perspectives. However, we have experts on staff, and we enable them to voice their opinions.
“As long as it doesn’t become a distraction, which is something Sean [McDermott] and I have both said. Nothing is, in our opinion. You’ll see where our players are focused when we go back out here on the grass playing football. They’re just concerned about winning.”
In his second season with the Bills, Beasley set a career best with 967 receiving yards on 82 receptions.
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