A crazy week for Buffalo Bills wide receivers Cole Beasley and Isaiah McKenzie got even more eventful on Thursday, as both players were fined nearly $15,000 for violating NFL COVID-19 protocols. As unvaccinated players, Beasley and McKenzie are required to wear masks at the team facility, but according to a letter from the league that McKenzie posted to his Twitter account Thursday morning, he was observed on two occasions without a mask on.
“They got me! @NFL you win!” McKenzie tweeted, while sharing the letter.
Though Beasley didn’t share any letter he had received, he re-tweeted his teammate’s message and wrote “Don’t worry they got me too. But I was wearing a mask when I was in close contact with fully vaxxed trainer who tested positive and still got sent home. So what’s the point of the mask anyways? Meanwhile I’m here still testing negative and can’t come back. Make it make sense.”
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On Tuesday, Beasley was among five players sent home from the Bills’ practice facility, after a fully-vaccinated team trainer was sent home following a positive COVID-19 test. As close contacts to the trainer, Beasley, wide receiver Gabriel Davis, linebackers Matt Milano and A.J. Klein, and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei were told to self-quarantine for five days.
McKenzie meanwhile, suffered a scary injury during practice Tuesday after receiving a nasty hit from safety Jordan Poyer.
Social Media Has Wide Range of Reaction to Fines
Aside from their initial posts indicating that they had been fined, both Beasley and McKenzie were active on Twitter expressing their feelings on the situation. McKenzie didn’t seem to mind getting some money taken out of his paycheck and, either seriously or jokingly, asked fans for forgiveness.
“$14,650 damn,” the fourth-year pro wrote, followed by the praying hands emoji. He also said “Pray for me,” followed by a grinning face emoji.
Beasley spent some of his morning responding to tweets and re-tweeting guys like Gary Sheffield Jr. and teammate Jon Feliciano.
Fellow wide receiver Stefon Diggs chimed in as well.
NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero broke down the fines to Beasley and McKenzie, noting that if issues arise again, further punishments could be handed down.
Last week, Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins opened up to the media and told his story of his battle with COVID-19. On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
What Percentage of NFL Players Have Received the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Shortly after news broke of the fines dished out to Beasley and McKenzie, Bills head coach Sean McDermott spoke to the media about it.
McDermott, while vaccinated himself, toed the line of pushing the vaccine on those who haven’t received the shot or shots and saying it’s important from both a community health and football standpoint.
According to the Washington Post, as of Tuesday, 92.7% of all current NFL players were either fully vaccinated or in the process and all but four teams were at or above the 89% threshold. The Atlanta Falcons became the first team in the league to be 100% vaccinated early last week.
The Bills will close out their preseason on Saturday against the Green Bay Packers.