ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Many players around the NFL have been outspoken on social media on their views regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, one of those guys is Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley.
On a few occasions he’s made it known how he feels about the vaccine and that he plans not to get vaccinated. One exchange even involved fellow teammate, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes.
But despite these social media posts, Bills general manager Brandon Beane does not expect the debate over Covid vaccines to divide the locker room.
“It’s tough and guys are trying to educate themselves, they’re trying to look at all sides but I do not think, you know we’ve got professionals and we allow them to express their views and as long as it’s not gonna be a distraction and that’s the point that Sean and I both made and we don’t believe anything is,” Beane said during a press conference before the start of training camp Wednesday.
“I think when we get out here back on the grass playing football you’ll see where our guys are focused, they’re focused on winning.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott took a similar approach when asked about Beasley’s comments.
“People are passionate about a lot of things these days it seems so I respect that. And I want to gain as much understanding as I can being a teammate and I expect his teammates to do that based on his passion in this situation so we’re here to play football, we’re here to get our minds focused,” McDermott explained.
Beane also said when it comes to the percentage of Bills players vaccinated, they are “just over 80% that have at least one shot.”
“We’ve been trying to educate our guys all through back in May and June. Our guys have done a really good job of listening and trying to educate themselves and are we 100%? No but a lot of guys have made that decision,” Beane said.
“We’ve had an uptick in guys that at least got one shot and so we’ll continue to educate. At the end of the day we’re not gonna force it on any of our players.”
Even though people are vaccinated, they can still get Covid-19 and that is something the Bills have been dealing with.
“Sometimes guys that are vaccinated are also getting these breakthrough cases and we’ve had a couple of those,” Beane said.
The Bills also start training camp with two players on the NFL’s Covid-19 list with Ike Boettger and Dion Dawkins with Beane mentioning one is asymptomatic, the other is not.
“Everyone has their position on it and I think when you come from a position of or you take the approach of respect, respecting people’s decisions, trying to gain as much understanding as you can I think those are two great approaches to situations like the vaccinations,” McDermott said.
Even back during the offseason, McDermott expressed a concern over the vaccination rate among his players in terms of what they’ll be able to do on a daily basis when it comes to vaccinated versus unvaccinated players since there are different protocols for both.
“That creates a bit heavier of a lift and so it’s important that we use that as an opportunity for us to come together as a team as opposed to allow that to divide us and be divisive,” McDermott said.
“There’s gonna be some bumps in the road just trying to figure out what we can do with unvaccinated guys versus a vaccinated person but we’ll figure it out, we’re all on the same team. I think our unvaccinated guys know we’re behind them, we don’t make the rules, it’s our job to enforce the protocols and protect each other,” Beane said.
Even though it’s not 100% of players vaccinated, McDermott added “we’re making progress”. Every coach on the Bills staff is also fully vaccinated.
The Bills also at this point do not plan on having a quarterback isolate from the rest of the team as an emergency, Covid QB in case an outbreak happened like what we saw with Jake Fromm last year.