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17 Sep, 2021 19:04

NFL anti-vax firebrand responds to ‘vaccine passport’ mandate by offering to buy away tickets for unvaccinated fans

NFL anti-vax firebrand responds to ‘vaccine passport’ mandate by offering to buy away tickets for unvaccinated fans

Buffalo Bills star Cole Beasley is perhaps the most prominent anti-vax voice in the NFL. The wide receiver has doubled down on his recent notoriety by offering unvaccinated fans free tickets to away games.

Despite estimates placing the percentage of NFL players who have received a vaccine against Covid-19 at around 93 percent – a figure which far outstrips general society in the United States – Beasley remains one of the league's most high-profile holdouts. 

The 32-year-old slot receiver has remained insistent that he will not comply with NFL suggestions – not mandates, they stress – for players to become vaccinated, even after the league outlined a list of strict penalties for unvaccinated players, as well as even more punishments for unvaccinated players suspected of being the source of an outbreak within a team's training facility.

Beasley's Bills teammate, Isaiah McKenzie, has already fallen foul of these new rules when he was fined nearly $15,000 for failing to wear a face mask in an area of his team's training base in which one was required. 

He posted an image of his proof of vaccination card to Instagram soon after, but if the Bills or the NFL were expect Beasley to blink in their apparent stand-off, think again. 

The Bills are one of only four teams in the NFL to require fans to show proof of vaccination to gain entry to their Highmark Stadium, a move which has proved to be unpopular with sections of the team's fanbase.

But the vaccine hesitant members of the so-called 'Bills Mafia' have found an ally in their team's receiver corps after Beasley offered on social media to provide free tickets to fans who can travel to away games where no such restrictions on stadium entry are involved.

"If you find an away game you are able to go to, then I will buy the tickets for you guys," Beasley wrote to a fan complaining about vaccine requirements on Twitter. "DM [message] me names and everything and I’ll figure out the best way to make it happen."

Beasley's sentiment was matched by Bills long-snapper Reid Ferguson, who made a similar promise to a fan.

The offer comes in a week in which Eerie Country, New York – the location of Buffalo – reported a 10 percent increase in Covid-19 cases compared to the week beforehand, according to public health information as well as data adding up which confirms the various vaccines' efficacy at fighting off the potentially fatal disease.

And as you might have expected with a topic as controversial as this one, the reaction on social media was predictably mixed.

"Fan: I’m unvaccinated," joked one supporter in response. "Beasley: let’s get you on a plane to a high-risk state and around 10,000 other people immediately."

"Or get vaccinated. Otherwise stay home," suggested another, bemoaning his apparent reluctance to take the shot.

Others, though, wholly endorsed Beasley's offer and the original fan for refusing to take the vaccine, even if it meant that they can't support their favorite sports team.

"You are a good man and you have made a fan out of me," they said. "We need more men like you to take a stand and do what is right."

Also on rt.com No jab, no football: Buffalo Bills close doors to unvaccinated fans as Covid restrictions storm brews