Bills G.M. Brandon Beane found himself in hot water for stating the obvious during the offseason. He’s stating the obvious again, albeit a bit more discreetly.
Asked by John Kryk of PostMedia.com whether it’s a competitive disadvantage to not have a fully-vaccinated roster, Beane was candid and accurate.
“If you’re facing a team that has 100 percent vaccination and you don’t, that is a competitive disadvantage, you’re right,” Beane said. “But this is a unique circumstance. [COVID-19 is] what everyone is dealing with. And you control what you can control. You educate your staff, your players — whether it’s doctors talking to them, or other people. And you try to just give them the facts. We have to also understand that this is not a thing that’s mandatory, and people have their rights.”
So what can a team do about it, given that (technically) it can’t cut unvaccinated players. (Also, some unvaccinated players are too good to cut.)
“We’re going to educate you on the vaccines, and then we’re going to educate you on the rules if you choose not to get vaccinated,” Beane said. “And you have to follow the rules. That’s really the best I can put it. Do I think about that, do I worry about that? Yeah, I do. But I can’t control all of that, and sometimes that’s hard, but that’s the box that we’re in unless you make it mandatory.”
It should have been mandatory. Instead, the league and union created so many incentives in order to get players to choose to be vaccinated that it gave rise to a competitive disadvantage if a team has players who are subject to a positive test on any/every given day or a five-day mandatory absence for close contact with an infected person.
We’ve already seen a key player gone for a game, with Pro Bowler Zack Martin missing the Cowboys-Bucs opener. On every game day (and every day in between), the constant threat looms of an unvaccinated player suddenly being gone, for five or 10 days, maybe longer.
Get used to that feeling. For as long as unvaccinated players are on rosters this year, that possibility exists.