Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley wasn’t happy with the NFL’s updated COVID-19 protocols, and didn’t hold back when letting the league and the Players Association know about it on social media.
Beasley, in a string of tweets on Thursday night, called the NFLPA “a joke.” The 32-year-old has made it clear on social media in the past that he hasn’t received a vaccination, and isn’t happy with the restrictions that will be placed on him during training camp and the preseason because of it.
Beasley speaks with NFLPA
Beasley confirmed on Twitter on Friday morning that he has spoken with the NFLPA about his complaints and that they “are working through it."
NFL’s new COVID protocols restrict unvaccinated players
The NFL and the NFLPA announced new coronavirus protocols for training camp and the preseason earlier this week, which will allow fully vaccinated players to essentially proceed normally. They won’t have to submit to daily coronavirus tests, wear masks or socially distance at team facilities, and won’t have to quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Vaccinated players can eat with teammates and interact with family and friends on the road, too.
Players who aren’t vaccinated will still have to follow most of those restrictions. If unvaccinated players violate those rules, they will face steep fines that will escalate if violations continue.
Bills' Beasley voices displeasure on social media
Here's what Beasley said Thursday to kick off his dustup with the union:
Beasley later posted a lengthy note where he seemed to pledge to ignore all of the new protocols regardless of any fines or punishments handed down to him. He also insisted that he isn't going to get vaccinated because he doesn't want to "take meds for a leg that isn't broken" — even though that analogy doesn't make sense here as vaccines are effective only if taken ahead of time.
He says that instead of getting vaccinated, he will "take my chances with Covid and build up my immunity that way. Eat better. Drink water. Exercise and do what I think is necessary to be a healthy individual."
Beasley racked up a career-high 967 yards and four touchdowns last season with the Bills, his second in Buffalo after spending his first seven years in the league with the Dallas Cowboys. He is entering the third year of a four-year, $29 million deal.
Though players aren’t required to get vaccinated, the Bills have taken several hard stances against those who have not.
The team will allow 100% capacity at Highmark Stadium, but only vaccinated fans will be allowed in. Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz explained that decision clearly, as “there’s no God-given right to attend a football game.”
Bills general manager Brandon Beane said in May that he would potentially cut a player from his roster if they haven’t received the vaccine, as it would put his team at a disadvantage. Coach Sean McDermott has said that he is “concerned” the Bills won’t reach the 85% vaccinated threshold that could mean relaxed rules for the team this season, too.
"We feel like we know that in our country and around the league where and how things are improving. And to me, there's a direct correlation to people getting vaccinated," McDermott said Tuesday, via ESPN. "Again, I would like to continue to see our team move in that direction. Continue to move an increased number of people that are getting vaccinated ... It's good to have the guys here. But I think the reality of our situation is that now — but also for sure come the fall — training camp protocols are going to continue to be enforced, in particular for those who are unvaccinated as it relates to the masking and the different things that are in place.
"Just trying to be real about it and make sure people understand what normal is gonna look like, in particular for those who are unvaccinated come the fall."
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