Sports

Cole Beasley Called The NFLPA A ‘Joke’ Over Rules For Unvaccinated Players

The NFL and its Players Association agreed earlier in the week to new rules about how to handle members of various organizations who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and help bring the pandemic that’s killed millions of people to an end. The differences between those who have gotten the jab will be stark, with testing every day for unvaccinated players and other restrictions like mask wearing and extended quarantine rules in case of close contact with anyone positive for coronavirus in the still-ongoing pandemic.

Those vaccinated, like hundreds of millions of other Americans, will be granted more freedom to go maskless and resume activities like others have been able to enjoy elsewhere in society. And teams have a mandate to allow increased contact if players and staff reach an 85 percent vaccination rate, generally in the range where experts feel herd immunity may be possible to bring the pandemic to an end.

A number of teams are apparently well on their way to getting to the 85 percent threshold according to reports, but one team fans are concerned about is the Buffalo Bills. Especially after some players were very vocal about some very incorrect medical opinions about the pandemic. Wideout Cole Beasley shared those thoughts on Twitter on Thursday, calling the NFLPA a “joke” for agreeing to these rules that apparently didn’t stand up for unvaccinated players to his liking.

This is already largely incorrect, as not only does the vaccine safely and effectively prevent serious illness or death from COVID-19, it also limits its ability for vaccinated people to spread it to others. But Beasley kept the false equivalences going, claiming that because he beat the odds of making it to the NFL and playing professional football, he could beat the odds and potentially get a breakthrough case even if he were vaccinated.

Beasley declared the moves were not with safety in mind, but so the NFL can continue to make money. That may be true, but he also amplified several different points of anti-vaccine rhetoric that have been scientifically disproven time and time again during the year-plus of the pandemic.

At one point, Beasley compared the pandemic that’s killed more than 600,000 Americans to “the flu” which, it’s important to note, also does have a vaccine that saves lives each year.

Another Bills player, guard Jon Feliciano, amplified Beasley’s comments on Twitter with his own takes.

Part of the apparent frustration here is, despite the wishes of many athletes that their medical history stay “private” when it comes to vaccinations, there will be extremely visible proof whether athletes are vaccinated or unvaccinated once camp and the regular season starts. What’s more, having teams with more unvaccinated players on the roster could limit team activities and make life more difficult in the upcoming season.

Bills fans on social media have spent the offseason watching a player’s significant other amplify anti-vaccine rhetoric and warning that many on the team were vaccine hesitant amid comments from the front office and head coach Sean McDermott saying they’d prefer players get vaccinated. In May, for example, McDermott admitted he was “concerned” that enough players may not get vaccinated so the team reaches the necessary thresholds to reach full team activities. It seems, at least in the middle of June, that some major players on the team are worth being concerned about.

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