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Bills’ Cole Beasley defiantly explains why he won’t get vaccinated

Cole Beasley, Bills, COVID-19

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley came the central character on Twitter Friday afternoon. Beasley offered a forceful and defiant public statement, explaining why he will not get vaccinated as protection against COVID-19.

There is plenty of eyebrow-raising material in this post from Cole Beasley, and you can click on the tweet above to read the full statement, but a few sentences stand out more than others.

This Cole Beasley excerpt certainly caught the attention of anyone who saw it on social media:

I may die of covid, but I’d rather die actually living. I have family members whose days are numbered. If they want to come see me and stay at my house, then they are coming regardless of protocol. I don’t play for the money anymore. My family has been taken care of.

Cole Beasley later said the following:

I’d rather take my chances with covid and build up my immunity that way. Eat better. Drink water.

It should be said that public health messaging on COVID-19 in the United States has been very inconsistent and sometimes irresponsible. Mask-wearing wasn’t promoted in the early days of the pandemic. The government and Anthony Fauci himself both had to reverse course on that specific recommendation. During the pandemic, a number of governors and mayors who had emphasized the need for citizens to strictly observe COVID-19 protocols then violated the protocols themselves, most notably California Governor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Cole Beasley, John Stockton, and other notable sports figures who have expressed an anti-vaccination position could have cited these or other instances in which politicians and public health officials haven’t earned the public’s trust.

An anti-vaccination position would be met with a lot of skepticism and pushback in any circumstance, to be very clear, but framing it in terms of the government not fully earning the public trust would be a reasonable way of outlining that position. Cole Beasley very clearly went in a different direction.

This statement from Cole Beasley reads like a “Live Free Or Die” manifesto, a misguided attempt to channel the spirit of American founding father Patrick Henry, who famously said, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

Cole Beasley is viewing a public health crisis as a matter of personal liberty. He has become — like John Stockton on Thursday night — the person everyone is talking about on Twitter.

We will see if another sports figure becomes the next central character on Twitter this weekend.