Bills WR Cole Beasley calls NFLPA 'a joke' over new COVID-19 rules restricting unvaccinated players

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley wasn’t happy with the NFL’s updated COVID-19 protocols, and didn’t hold back when letting the league and the Players Association know about it on social media.

Beasley, in a string of tweets on Thursday night, called the NFLPA “a joke.” The 32-year-old has made it clear on social media in the past that he hasn’t received a vaccination, and isn’t happy with the restrictions that will be placed on him during training camp and the preseason because of it.

Beasley speaks with NFLPA

Beasley confirmed on Twitter on Friday morning that he has spoken with the NFLPA about his complaints and that they “are working through it." 

Now we have spoken and are working through it. From what Ive been told these are guidelines for preseason and it’s nothing final.

— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) June 18, 2021

NFL’s new COVID protocols restrict unvaccinated players

The NFL and the NFLPA announced new coronavirus protocols for training camp and the preseason earlier this week, which will allow fully vaccinated players to essentially proceed normally. They won’t have to submit to daily coronavirus tests, wear masks or socially distance at team facilities, and won’t have to quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Vaccinated players can eat with teammates and interact with family and friends on the road, too.

Players who aren’t vaccinated will still have to follow most of those restrictions. If unvaccinated players violate those rules, they will face steep fines that will escalate if violations continue.

While it’s easy to see why Beasley would be upset at the restrictions placed against him, there is a solution that would make them disappear.

He could go get vaccinated.

Bills' Beasley voices displeasure on social media

Here's what Beasley said Thursday to kick off his dustup with the union: 

This is 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? 100 percent immune with vaccination? No.

— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) June 17, 2021

The players association is a joke. Call it something different. It’s not for the players. Everyone gives me the 98 percent of people who are vaccinated don’t get covid again. The odds of me getting in the NFL and playing for 10 years are lower than that and I’m here.

— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) June 17, 2021

So what are we really talking about? I understand completely why the NFL is doing this. It gives them back the freedom to make the most money as possible again if everyone is vaccinated. But will anyone fight for the players or nah?

— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) June 17, 2021

That’s all…I don’t know who I need to talk to but someone has to get it right. That’s why I’m on here. Hopefully the right people will see it and at least think about how all this NFLPA stuff works. It needs to be changed.

— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) June 17, 2021

Beasley later posted a lengthy note where he seemed to pledge to ignore all of the new protocols regardless of any fines or punishments handed down to him. He also insisted that he isn't going to get vaccinated because he doesn't want to "take meds for a leg that isn't broken" — even though that analogy doesn't make sense here as vaccines are effective only if taken ahead of time. 

He claimed that he can prevent contracting the coronavirus with healthy eating habits and drinking water, neither of which would have any impact on that whatsoever.

Public Service Announcement

— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) June 18, 2021

Beasley racked up a career-high 967 yards and four touchdowns last season with the Bills, his second in Buffalo after spending his first seven years in the league with the Dallas Cowboys. He is entering the third year of a four-year, $29 million deal.

Though players aren’t required to get vaccinated, the Bills have taken several hard stances against those who have not.

The team will allow 100% capacity at Highmark Stadium, but only vaccinated fans will be allowed in. Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz explained that decision clearly, as “there’s no God-given right to attend a football game.”

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said in May that he would potentially cut a player from his roster if they haven’t received the vaccine, as it would put his team at a disadvantage. Coach Sean McDermott has said that he is “concerned” the Bills won’t reach the 85% vaccinated threshold that could mean relaxed rules for the team this season, too.

"We feel like we know that in our country and around the league where and how things are improving. And to me, there's a direct correlation to people getting vaccinated," McDermott said Tuesday, via ESPN. "Again, I would like to continue to see our team move in that direction. Continue to move an increased number of people that are getting vaccinated … It's good to have the guys here. But I think the reality of our situation is that now — but also for sure come the fall — training camp protocols are going to continue to be enforced, in particular for those who are unvaccinated as it relates to the masking and the different things that are in place.

"Just trying to be real about it and make sure people understand what normal is gonna look like, in particular for those who are unvaccinated come the fall."

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