Shortly after Bills receiver Cole Beasley’s initial Twitter tirade about the COVID vaccine, Beasley quickly decided to say nothing further.
“I don’t want [to] be any more of a distraction to my team so that’s where I’m leaving it,” Beasley said last month.
In recent days, Beasley has returned to Twitter with plenty more to say about the vaccine. He started by retweeting messages from others regarding the vaccine, and then he began sharing his own thoughts.
He started by taking issue with Michael Irvin’s position that players who don’t get vaccinated don’t want to win. Beasley then suggested that a vaccinated teammate was sent home on Monday. (The Bills did not respond to a request from PFT for comment/confirmation on this contention.) Beasley then objected to the fact that a reporter retweeted Beasley’s contention as “news.”
He then said he’ll get the vaccine and become an advocate for it, if Pfizer puts a percentage of its earnings from the vaccine in his wife’s name.
Beasley later said he was kidding about it, after Mark Cuban offered to give Beasley’s wife a share of Pfizer stock. Beasley then offered to explain to Cuban by phone the reasons for believing that the NFL’s 2021 COVID rules will result in more games being canceled this year than last year. (Although the NFL postponed a handful of games in 2020, it canceled none.)
Beasley seems to have concerns both about the vaccine and the league’s rules for vaccinated players, who will be tested once every 14 days while unvaccinated players are tested daily. (Beasley believes it’s a weekly test for vaccinated players; the NFL has told PFT that vaccinated players will be tested once every 14 days.)
Although we’ve decided not to write a story about every (or any) Beasley tweet after posting on his disagreement with Irvin, there’s a broader question that needs to be asked, now that the dust has settled on his more recent, extended Twitter comments. Is Beasley trying to goad the Bills into cutting him?
It’s likely not a coincidence that Beasley abruptly decided last month to stop being a “distraction” and the fact that Bills coach Sean McDermott admits he spoke to Beasley about his initial Twitter assault against the NFL’s rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
At one point on Tuesday, Paul McLeary of Politico.com observed regarding Beasley’s disclosure of a vaccinated teammate being sent home, “Buffalo Bills management must love this.” Said Beasley in response: “We don’t have a game for a month and a half it’s not hurting anyone.”
That’s a confusing response from Beasley. Obviously, players can create distractions or otherwise anger team management by things said and done before Week One. Beasley surely is smart enough to realize that, isn’t he?
So that’s why it’s easy to wonder whether he’s trying to get himself cut by the Bills. The question then becomes whether he wants to play for some other team -- or whether he’s hoping to become some sort of a martyr who becomes a hero of those who share his views, finding a way to profit from those who would make him, essentially, a Colin Kaepernick of the right.
It would be wrong for Beasley to be shunned by the league for his views on the vaccine and the NFL’s rules regarding it, every bit as wrong as it was for Kaepernick to be shunned for his decision to exercise his right to not stand for the national anthem. But many of those who applauded the shunning of Kaepernick will cry foul if/when Beasey gets released and then can’t find another team.
I’m not saying Beasley actually wants to be cut and then shunned. I’m only saying that his most recent antics on Twitter invite speculation that he’s possibly trying to engineer that outcome. Why else would he embrace creating a distraction for the Bills on this issue, a month after he vowed not to?