Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley leaned into the sharp backlash from statements he’s made critical of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, disclosing that he is not vaccinated and pledging to “live my one life like I want to regardless”.
“I will be outside doing what I do,” he wrote in a statement posted to social media. “I’ll be out in the public. If your (sic) scared of me then steer clear, or get vaccinated. Point. Blank. Period. I may die of covid, but I’d rather die actually living.
“I have family members whose days are numbered. If they want to come see me and stay at my house then they are coming regardless of protocol. I don’t play for the money anymore. My family has been taken care of. Fine me if you want. My way of living and my values are more important to me than a dollar. I love my teammates and enjoy playing ball because all the outside bs goes out the window in these moments. I just want to win the Super Bowl and enjoy these relationships that will be created along the way.
“I’m not going to take meds for a leg that isn’t broken. I’d rather take my chances with Covid and build up my immunity that way. Eat better. Drink water. Exercise and do what I think is necessary to be a healthy individual. That is MY CHOICE based on MY experiences and what I think is best. I’ll play for free this year to live life how I’ve lived it from day one. If I’m forced into retirement, so be it.”
The 32-year old veteran also said that he has spoken with the NFL Players Association about his issues with the NFL’s new virus policies.
Beasley said he is not inoculated against Covid-19 and made it clear he did not want to receive the vaccine.
“Now we have spoken and are working through it,” Beasley wrote in a separate reply tweet to a Bills reporter. “From what Ive (sic) been told these are guidelines for preseason and it’s nothing final.”
On Thursday, Beasley aired complaints about the league’s updated Covid-19 protocols for training camp and the preseason, which allow for fully vaccinated players to return mostly to how things were done before the pandemic but keeps stricter guidelines in place for unvaccinated individuals.
Beasley called the NFLPA a “joke” and asked if anyone will “fight for the players”.
The NFL is not requiring players to get vaccinated. However, its new protocols may encourage some to do so due to the lesser restrictions.
Unvaccinated players will still need to be tested daily for Covid-19 and must keep wearing masks while in team facilities. They cannot interact with anyone outside of their team’s traveling party when on the road. And they will still be required to quarantine if deemed a close contact of a high-risk Covid exposure.
For vaccinated players, these guidelines will be removed or loosened.
Other NFL players, including Washington edge rusher Montez Sweat and Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold, have expressed skepticism or uncertainty about whether to receive the vaccine.
The three vaccines authorized in the US have all been deemed safe by the CDC and have high levels of efficacy.
Beasley set career highs with 82 catches and 967 receiving yards in 2020, his second season in Buffalo after playing seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.