Anyone who follows the NFL closely already knew which way the wind was blowing. Players, who for the most part don’t follow the sport like fans and media do, have only recently learned that the rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players will be very different in 2021.
The players who don’t intend to get vaccinated don’t like it.
On Wednesday, Bengals running back Joe Mixon sounded off. On Thursday, Bills receiver Cole Beasley chimed in, calling the NFL Players Association “a joke” via a string of tweets expressing his displeasure with the lingering restrictions for players who don’t get vaccinated.
“This is crazy,” Beasley said. “Did we vote on this? I stay in the hotel. We still have meetings. We will all be together. Vaccinated players can go out the hotel and bring covid back in to where I am. So what does it matter if I stay in the hotel now? 100 percent immune with vaccination? No.”
For starters, the players did vote on this, indirectly. They elect team representatives and executive committee members. Those individuals approved these rules.
“The players association is a joke,” Beasley said. “Call it something different. It’s not for the players. Everyone gives me the 98 percent of people who are vaccinated don’t get covid again. The odds of me getting in the NFL and playing for 10 years are lower than that and I’m here.”
Cole, here’s the reality — without a union, you’d be forced to choose between getting vaccinated and retiring. The union has prevented the league from implementing that rule. Moreover, the union has to represent the interests of all members, even when the interests aren’t aligned. In this case, a very vocal minority is complaining, and a very silent majority is saying nothing.
“I understand completely why the NFL is doing this,” Beasley said. “It gives them back the freedom to make the most money as possible again if everyone is vaccinated. But will anyone fight for the players or nah?”
Players get paid if the NFL gets paid. So, yes, they want to be able to play the games. If they play the games, the players get paid. That’s how a business operates.
“I don’t know who I need to talk to but someone has to get it right,” Beasley concluded. “That’s why I’m on here. Hopefully the right people will see it and at least think about how all this NFLPA stuff works. It needs to be changed.”
It doesn’t need to be changed because Beasley and Mixon don’t like it. And if the rules were put out to a vote, the fact that more than half of all players have been vaccinated means that the measures would be approved by a majority.
Perhaps these tweets are simply part of Beasley’s process. Anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Ultimately, if he wants to make $4.7 million to play football this season, he needs to work his way through to acceptance.
Or he just needs to get vaccinated.