Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley vowed Friday to remain unvaccinated for Covid-19 and suggested he was ready to face sanctions rather than abide by new rules proposed for NFL players who aren’t inoculated.
Beasley will likely face a new set of protocols for unvaccinated NFL players during training and preseason games, including undergoing daily Covid-19 tests, wearing masks at NFL facilities, social distancing and possibly being quarantined when exposed to crowds.
The proposed rules also prohibit marketing and sponsorship activities and traveling with a team. Violators could face fines of up to $50,000 per offense.
Beasley, 32, said in a statement on Twitter that he’s prepared for the consequences, including decreased income.
“I’ll play for free this year to live life how I’ve lived it from day one,” he said. “If I’m forced into retirement, so be it.”
Beasley, in the third year of a four-year, $29 million contract, said he would face the pandemic by eating well and exercising. “That is MY CHOICE based on MY experiences and what I think is best,” he said.
“I’ll be out in the public,” he warned. “If your scared of me then steer clear, or get vaccinated.”
The league and the NFL Players Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the delta variant, which spreads more rapidly than other versions of the coronavirus, a “variant of concern” and said it accounts for nearly 1 in 10 new cases in the country.
“This is the most dangerous phase of the pandemic coming up for people who are unvaccinated,” Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, said earlier this week.
Sara G. Miller contributed.