Vaccination status has been a huge talking point heading into the 2021 NFL season.
With inconvenient restrictions for unvaccinated players, it’s become abundantly clear that teams with higher vaccination rates will have an advantage throughout the year.
When asked whether or not teams with higher vaccination rates will enjoy a competitive advantage in 2021, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane didn’t shy away from the obvious answer.
“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, per the Toronto Sun. “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.”
The last line of that answer is likely a product of some trouble Beane found himself in earlier this year.
When asked a similar question back in May, the Bills GM said he would consider cutting a player if they refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This got him a talking to from the NFL league office, who reportedly reminded him that players cannot be released based on their vaccination status.
In late August, Beane revealed that his team had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the league at around 80%. Several Buffalo players, most notably wide receiver Cole Beasley, have been openly outspoken against the vaccine.