If there’s anything we learned from the year 2020, is that COVID-19 is not a joke and that the danger of a grand scale pandemic can be crushingly devastating. Not even five days ago, the New York Times reported that the world’s coronavirus death toll had surpassed four million, as stronger variants continue to spread and unequal vaccine distribution stunts the level of global immunity.
Although this pandemic has cast a dark cloud upon humanity, the vaccines have provided a sign of hope and have proven to be a very effective, preventative measure to ensure people don’t get the coronavirus and avoid the most severe symptoms that can fatally hospitalize them if they do contract it. Whether it’s Moderna, Pfizer, or AstraZeneca, the vaccines have the effectiveness to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by 90% or more, according to the CDC, providing substantial protection to one of the most contagious viruses our world has ever lived through. In fact, the driving force behind why cases have gone down in the U.S., for example, is due to the significant number of individuals who have received vaccinations so far, with nearly 48% of the country already fully vaccinated.
However, despite the continued success behind the vaccinations, many people have chosen not to get vaccinated. The reasons behind these decisions vary and are fueled by several different influences. That being said, due the devastation and heartbreak this virus has already caused and continues to insinuate, numerous of people have given these anti-vaccine individuals a lot of criticism and backlash over their decision-making. Believe it or not, this anti-vaccine stance and sentiment is widely felt throughout the entire country, even among celebrities and professional athletes. And over the past month, one popular sports athlete who’s chosen not to be vaccinated and has been at the forefront of this ongoing controversy is Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley.
Coming out with a Twitter PSA on June 18th, Beasley stated that “he’s not vaccinated and that he wants to live his one life like he wants to,” explaining that “he’d rather take his chances with COVID and build up an immunity that way.” Further detailing instructions for those that live around him and might encounter him in person, Beasley also took the time to explain his standing on the freedom to choose what he feels is best for him and his life, going as far to say that “I’ll play for free this year to live how I’ve lived from day one.” And “If I’m forced into retirement, so be it.”
Whether you’re a Bills fan or a sports fan in general, this is certainly a conflicting concern that can pose a variety of issues. To begin with, the Bills are a Super Bowl contending team, and any setbacks due to COVID-19 throughout the season could be consequential for this franchise’s big aspirations. Though the NFL has a rigorous policy in place for unvaccinated players, including mask-wearing, daily testing, as well as weight room capacity limits, Beasley’s approach could cost him outside of the NFL’s jurisdiction, and he could easily put his teammates at risk, whether they’re vaccinated or not (ESPN).
On the other hand, the Bills also really need Beasley to be present, healthy, and focused. Ever since he came to Buffalo in 2019, Beasley has posted new career highs in receptions (82), targets (107), yards (967), touchdowns (6), and receiving first downs (53), becoming a vital component of this Bills offense (ESPN). On top of his incredible chemistry level established with quarterback Josh Allen, Beasley never turns the ball over, recording his last fumble back in 2015 (ESPN).
In short, Beasley’s decision about the vaccine has become a significant cause for concern regarding the Bills goals this season. And, as a matter of fact, he’s not the only player in the NFL who’s chosen not to get vaccinated. That being said, if you were in his position, would you take the vaccine or opt-out and risk an early retirement? Here at ESM, we would love to hear our readers and fans weigh in on this controversial matter, especially since the Bills have so much on the line this year. Feel free to chime in with your comments and thoughts!