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Cole Beasley, who vowed throughout the offseason to not get vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Buffalo’s huge game against New England on Sunday. With fans lashing out against him, he faults the NFL’s rules.
“Just to be clear Covid is not keeping me out of this game,” Beasley wrote on Instagram. “The rules are vaxxed players are playing with Covid every week now because they don’t test. One of my vaxxed teammates is in the hospital missing games. I’m sure he didn’t get this same energy.”
Beasley thanked his supporters and pledged no further engagement with detractors.
“Thank you for those who support,” he continued. “Everyone else, if you don’t get what’s happening then there is nothing anybody can do for you.”
The Omicron strain is ripping across sports — and broader society.
In Beasley’s reference to NFL rules, the league pledged over the weekend to change protocols such that less players who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic would be tested for COVID-19. Nevertheless, on Monday alone, 47 players who were tested came up positive.
“Under new protocols, the NFL’s partner, IQVIA, selects players on each team that gets tested. (Think of it like having TSA Pre-check and getting randomly selected at the airport.),” tweeted Tom Pelissero of NFL Media. “So on any given day, a fully vaccinated player with no symptoms could still test positive.”
One other change to the protocols is that fully vaccinated players can return to play once they test negative, as opposed to having to spend a certain time away or test negative twice 24 hours apart.
With Beasley, because he is unvaccinated, he is out for a mandatory 10 days and thus must miss a crucial AFC East matchup for the Bills on Sunday. The Patriots are 9-5 and the Bills are 8-6; therefore, this game has profound implications in the AFC East divisional title race.
Beasley, 32, went on an extended rant on Twitter in June about the league’s decision to give preferential treatment to vaccinated players versus the unvaccinated with regards to a number of protocols. He has 76 catches for 640 yards and one touchdown this season.