Cole Beasley, wide receiver for the NFL Buffalo Bills, recently released a statement on Twitter titled “Public Service Announcement,” in which he confirmed his choice to remain unvaccinated. “I’ll be out in public. If your scared of me, then stay clear or get vaccinated. Point. Blank. Period,” said the June 19 statement.
Beasley said that even if he were to pass away from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), he would “rather die actually living.” In his age group of 30 to 39 years old, he has a 0.2 percent chance of death from COVID-19. He pointed out that he no longer plays for money and that his way of life and values “are more important to me than a dollar.” Beasley is not worried about being forced into retirement, as he will get to live freely with his wife, kids, and extended family.
“I’m not going to take meds for a leg that isn’t broken. I’d rather 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. That is MY CHOICE based on MY experience and what I think is best.”
Beasley also said that several other NFL players share his opinion on the issue, but are not in the right place in their careers to be as outspoken as he is. “I feel for you and I’m hoping I’m doing my part to represent you guys well,” the statement said.
The NFL recently issued COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 training camp and preseason, which discriminates against unvaccinated individuals. According to a memo sent to the team clubs obtained by NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, the league mandated the following rules for players who have not been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus:
- Testing is required every day.
- Masks must be worn at the club facility and during travel.
- Social distancing from others is required in the club facility.
- Quarantine is needed after COVID-19 exposure.
- Travel restrictions apply.
- Eating must occur separately and with social distancing from teammates.
- Social media marketing or sponsorship activities are not allowed.
- The sauna/steam room is off limits.
- Leaving the hotel to eat in restaurants is prohibited.
- Interaction with any person outside of the Team Traveling Party during team travel is not allowed.
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Fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from the above restrictions. In a June 18 tweet, Beasley called the rules “crazy.”
“Did we vote on this? I stay in the hotel. We still have meetings. We will all be together. Vaccinated players can go out the hotel and bring covid back in to where I am. So what does it matter if I stay in the hotel now?” he said in a tweet.
Players who are not fully vaccinated will be banned from house parties, bars, concerts, nightclubs, and other events. Violations could result in fines of $50,000 for the first offense and more thereafter.
Actor and director Rob Schneider expressed his appreciation for Beasley’s June 19th statement. “Thank you for standing up for your rights and for the rights of others. It’s your life, your body, your choice. These authoritarian measures are not based on science but on making people obey for the benefit of the Pharmaceutical cartels that now threaten democracy,” Schneider said in a tweet.
Beasley signed a 29 million dollar four-year contract with the Buffalo Bills on Mar. 13, 2019. He is in the third year of his contract with the team. In May, Bills’ General Manager Brandon Beane indicated that he might cut players from the final playing team if they were unvaccinated.
Other NFL players have also openly talked about declining the COVID-19 vaccine. Washington Post reporter Sam Fortier tweeted that Washington Football Team player Montez Sweat was adamant about not getting vaccinated. “I’m not a fan of it at all. I probably won’t get vaccinated until I get more facts… I haven’t caught covid yet. I don’t see me treating covid until I actually get covid,” Sweat said to Fortier.
With reporting by Prakash Gogoi.