‘I’m not anti or pro-vax, I’m pro-choice’: Bills’ Beasley addresses vaccine criticism on first day of camp

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WHEC) — Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley began his first training camp media availability Wednesday by addressing his previous social media comments on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Beasley, who has been vocal in sharing his personal opposition to getting the shot, read a prepared statement prior to asking reporters to ask him questions squarely focused on football.

The National Football League last week released updated guidelines warning NFL teams they could forfeit a game due to a COVID-19 outbreak among non-vaccinated players, and players on both teams wouldn’t get paid that week.

Beasley maintained he would not get vaccinated.

Locally, health experts have said a recent spike in COVID cases is due to both the dominance of the delta virus variant and a plateau in vaccinations. Doctors say a majority of new cases are in people who are unvaccinated, though there have been some breakthrough cases.

Read the full transcript of Beasley’s statement below.

“I wanted to start this off by saying I’m not anti or pro-vax. I’m pro-choice. With that being said, the issue at hand is — information is being withheld from players in order for a player to be swayed in a direction he may not be comfortable with. When dealing with 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 the future topics regarding health and our ability to make educated decisions.

With regard to our overall safety, we have to know we are armed with full knowledge and understanding that those that are in a position to help us will always do that based on our individual situation.

Some people may think that I’m being selfish and making this a me thing. It’s 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 vax’d- they’ll be cut. Agents are being told by teams that if they have un-vaccinated guys, they will not be given opportunities as of now to be seen in workouts.

So once un-vaccinated 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. Every doctor I’ve gone to with questions begins every sentence with “From what we know now” which tells me we don’t know enough. The NFLPA is working to have vaccinated players tested more frequently than what the NFL initially stated. A lot of players got the vaccination with the idea that these rules were already set in stone, and they’re not.

It is common sense that if a vax’d or un-vaccinated player is tested less frequently, the likelihood of a player being pulled for COVID, drops dramatically.

In regard to player safety, I will conclude by saying we all wanna be safe. For so many players around the NFL, safety does not solely mean avoiding the COVID virus. Our health is the now and the 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.”

The Bills kicked off training camp Wednesday.

Beasley said he wanted to make a statement upfront, out of respect for his coaches and teammates, then get back to talking football. He also said he won’t be tweeting about the vaccine anymore.