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Beasley on vax stance: Players need 'proper' info

Written by 
Published in Breaking News
Wednesday, 28 July 2021 14:13

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley, who has openly opposed the NFL's policy on COVID-19 vaccinations, attempted to clarify his stance Wednesday, saying his gripe with the league is over the differing standards for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.

"I'm not anti- or pro-vax -- I'm pro-choice," Beasley said, reading from a prepared statement after the Bills' first practice of training camp. "With that being said, the issue at hand is information being withheld from players in order for a player to be swayed in a direction 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."

The NFL's policy, which heavily restricts unvaccinated players while allowing a return to near normalcy for vaccinated players, sparked criticism from Beasley last month, when he tweeted that he was not vaccinated and would continue to "live my one life like I want."

The NFL policies include more frequent testing, masks and social distancing in the team facility and during team travel for unvaccinated players.

It was the frequency of testing, however, that Beasley was most critical of: Unvaccinated players will have to be tested daily under the policy governing preseason and training camp, while vaccinated players will only be required to test every two weeks.

"It's common sense that if a vaxxed or unvaxxed player is tested less frequently, the likelihood of a player being pulled for COVID drops dramatically," he said. "In regard to player safety, I'll conclude by saying we all want to be safe.

"For so many players around the NFL, safety does not solely mean avoiding the COVID virus. Our health is the now and years beyond, which we are trying to protect with our personal choice while doing all the things we did in our protocol during a very successful 2020 NFL season."

Bills general manager Brandon Beane briefly discussed the team's vaccination rate Wednesday, saying it is just over 80%. Beane also said he does not believe Beasley's or any other player's comments about the vaccine on social media will detract from the team's overall focus now that training camp has begun.

"Sometimes stuff gets out in social media -- you don't know how to interpret it," Beane said. "You know, I've had a lot of conversations with some of the guys. ... It's tough. Guys are trying to educate themselves, they're trying to look at all sides. But we've got professionals, and we allow them to express their views.

"As long as it's not going to be a distraction, and that's the point that Sean [McDermott] and I have both made. We don't believe anything is. I think when we get out here, back on the grass playing football, you'll see where our guys are focused. They're focused on winning."

Beasley had a career-high 967 receiving yards on 82 catches last season, his second with the Bills.

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