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Cole Beasley, Jerry Hughes vaccine exchange becomes teachable moment for other teams

Before training camp got started, a schism was emerging among members of the Buffalo Bills over the issue of the COVID vaccine. At one point, receiver Cole Beasley and defensive end Jerry Hughes squared off on social media.

Beasley argued against the vaccine, Hughes argued in favor of it. Peter King explained in his Football Morning in America column that at least one other team has argued against such arguments.

King wrote that one team has shown the Beasley-Hughes exchange to its players with a very clear message: “Do NOT do this.”

It’s a message that shouldn’t need to be sent. And Beasley and Hughes surely knew that. But the vaccination question is creating strong feelings and hard heads throughout the nation. It’s no surprise that Beasley -- who hasn’t been bashful about his anti-vaccine agenda -- engaged a teammate publicly on the issue.

Beasley’s belligerence on the vaccination issue could set him up for being one of the 37 players currently in camp who won’t eventually be on the 53-man roster. Even if the team decides that Beasley’s talent currently outweighs the distractions he has created, the moment the balance tips the other way, he’ll be gone.

That’s going to be a common dynamic for plenty of teams. Players who are untouchable due to talent or cap consequences can refuse to get vaccinated. The moment they no longer are untouchable, they’ll be getting a foot in the ass and a one-way ticket out of town.