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wide receiver Cole Beasley has been one of the most outspoken players to criticize the new policy for vaccinated and unvaccinated players and on Wednesday he called into question the league’s transparency on the issue.
Beasley, reading a statement from his phone on the first day of training camp, said that the main issue is that there is “information being withheld from players” that could possibly influence their decision.
“I’m not anti or pro vax. I’m pro-choice. 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,” he began.
“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 latest policy update heavily restricts unvaccinated players. A memo from commissioner Roger Goodell last week informed all 32 clubs that outbreaks amongst unvaccinated players could result in the forfeiture of games and even loss of pay.
Beasley also claimed that there are players who are missing out on opportunities over not being vaccinated and even some who are being told that they will get cut as a result.
“Some people may think that I’m being selfish and making this a ‘me’ thing. 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 vaxxed, they’ll be cut. Agents are being told by teams if they have unvaccinated guys, they will not be given opportunities as of now to be seen in workouts. So once unvaxxed players get cut, they’re losing a dream they have worked their whole lives for over a vaccine that has proven to not keep people from contracting Covid, as we’ve seen.”
Beasley ended the statement by reiterating his point of personal choice.
“In regard to player safety, I will 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 all trying to protect with our personal choice, while doing all the things we did in our protocol during a very successful 2020 NFL season. That’s kind of where the issue has been for me the whole time and that’s how I want to end it right there.”
General manager Brandon Beane said that just over 80% of Bills players have received at least one vaccine dose but added that the organization does not plan to force anyone into getting vaccinated.
“We’ve had an uptick of guys that have at least got one shot. So we’ll continue to educate,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re not going to force it on any of our players or any of our staff. That’s a personal decision. And that’s how the organization will handle it going forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.