Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane could once again find himself in hot water with the NFL for comments relating to COVID-19 vaccination.
Beane was asked by John Kryk of the Toronto Sun whether it’s a competitive disadvantage not to have a fully vaccinated roster. He said it is, especially when going up against a team that is fully vaccinated.
“If you’re facing a team that has 100 percent vaccination and you don’t, that is a competitive disadvantage, you’re right,” Beane said. “But this is a unique circumstance. [COVID-19 is] what everyone is dealing with. And you control what you can control. You educate your staff, your players — whether it’s doctors talking to them, or other people. And you try to just give them the facts. We have to also understand that this is not a thing that’s mandatory, and people have their rights.”
When Beane was asked in May whether he would cut an unvaccinated player to get closer to herd immunity, he responded, “Yeah, I would, because it would be an advantage.”
The 45-year-old added that virtual and socially distanced meetings that occurred during the 2020 season due to COVID-19 were a hindrance for the Bills. Getting a majority of players vaccinated would allow the franchise to run a close to normal season.
The NFL reportedly spoke to Beane about his initial comments in May, reminding him that teams cannot release players due to their vaccination status.
Several players on the Bills roster still aren’t vaccinated, including wide receiver Cole Beasley, who has made it very clear via social media that he has no plans to get the shot.
Beasley and Isaiah McKenzie were even fined for COVID-19 protocol violations this season. McKenzie decided to get vaccinated after being fined, but the fine did not change Beasley’s mind.
Only three teams in the NFL have reportedly reached 100% vaccination: the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders. That will undoubtedly be an advantage for those teams this season, especially because they won’t have to forfeit games if they have a COVID-19 outbreak.