Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has generated headlines for his controversial stance on the COVID-19 vaccine in recent months. Beasley has repeatedly stated that he is personally against receiving the vaccine and believes that the NFL has been misleading players with their updated protocols and in turn, pressuring young players into getting the shot due to the fear of potentially being cut.
Beasley’s comments have caused a serious rift among fans, as the vaccine is currently one of the most controversial and divisive issues in the country. He even got into a Twitter spat with teammate and defensive end Jerry Hughes, who told the wide receiver that he’s vaccinated due to the greatest doctors in the world coming together to develop the vaccine. This debate with Hughes sparked a lot of debate among analysts and fans about whether the vaccine issue would divide the locker room.
Following practice on the first day of Buffalo Bills training camp, Beasley addressed the media with a prepared statement regarding his personal beliefs on the vaccine.
“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 in order for a player to be swayed in a direction that he may not be comfortable with. When dealing with a 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 future topics regarding health and our ability to make educated decisions. In regard to our overall safety, we have to know that we are armed with full knowledge and understanding that those who are in a position to help us, will always do that based on our situation.
Some people may think that I’m being selfish and making this a ‘me’ thing. But it is 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. Agents are being told by teams that guys will not be given opportunities as of now to be seen in workouts. So once unvaccinated players get cut, they’re losing a dream they have worked their whole lives. Over a vaccine that has been 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 they originally stated. A lot of players got the vaccination with the idea that these rules are set in stone, and they’re not. It’s common sense that if a vaccinated or unvaccinated player is tested more frequently, the likelihood of a player being pulled for COVID drops dramatically.
In regards to player safety, I will conclude by saying we all want to be safe. For so many players around the league, safety does not solely mean avoiding the COVID virus. Our health is the now, which we are trying to protect with our personal choice. We are doing all the things we did in our protocol during a very successful 2020 season. That’s where the issue has been for me the whole time.”
Beasley ended his statement by saying that he would no longer take his concerns regarding the vaccine to social media and that he’s now 100-percent focused on football. He added that he spoke to Hughes over the phone and cleared the air.
“Me and Jerry had a conversation on social media look me and Jerry are brothers, we had a conversation on the phone after, we talked it through, we weren’t mad at each other. Jerry’s one of the guys I’ll run through a wall for.”
Both general manager Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott spoke to reporters this morning and were emphatic when stating that this was not an issue that would cause a divide in the locker room, adding that over 80-percent of the roster had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
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