BUFFALO (N.Y.) -- Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills was openly against the NFL's COVID-19 vaccine policy. He attempted to clarify his position Wednesday by saying that his issue with the league is about the different standards for unvaccinated and vaccinated players.
Beasley stated, reading from a prepared statement following the Bills' first practice at training camp. "That being said, the problem is that players are being kept in line with their preferences to allow them to move in a direction they don't like.
When dealing with players' safety and health, it is important to ensure that there is complete transparency about the information required for decision-making. A player may feel confused or unsure about making a decision if they don't have all the information. This makes the player feel unsafe and raises concerns about their future health and ability to make informed decisions.
The policy of the NFL, which severely restricts unvaccinated athletes while allowing a return back to near normalcy in vaccinated, was criticized by Beasley last month. He tweeted that he wasn't vaccinated and would continue "to live my one life as I want".
For unvaccinated players, the NFL has policies that include frequent testing, masks, and social distancing at team facilities and on team travel.
Beasley was particularly critical of the frequency of testing: Players who are not vaccinated will need to be tested every day under the preseason and training camp policy, while players who have been vaccinated will only need to test once every two weeks.
He stated, "It is common knowledge that if a player is vaxxed or not, the chances of them being pulled for COVID drop dramatically." "In terms of player safety, I'll end by saying that we all want to feel safe.
Safety does not just mean avoiding the COVID virus. It is about safety for many NFL players. Our health is now and for the future. We are making every effort to preserve our health while continuing to do all that we did during the very successful 2020 NFL season.
Brandon Beane, the Bills' general manager, briefly spoke about Wednesday's team vaccination rate. He stated that it was just over 80%. Beane stated that he doesn't believe Beasley's and any other player's comments on the vaccine on social networks will distract from the team’s overall focus now training camp has started.
Beane stated, "Sometimes stuff is out in social media -- it's hard to know how you should interpret it." "I've had many conversations with some guys. ... It is difficult. It's difficult for guys to learn. We have professionals who are allowed to share their opinions.
"As long it's not going be a distraction, that's what it is," Sean McDermott and I both agreed on. We don't believe that anything is possible. You'll be able to see the focus of our players when they get back out on the grass playing football. They are focused on winning."
Last season, Beasley was the Bills' second-best receiver with 967 yards and 82 catches.