1. Aaron Rodgers dominated the sports news cycle Wednesday thanks to a surreal press conference. However, this was not the only surreal NFL press conference of the day.
After expressing his anti-COVID-19 vaccine thoughts on Twitter for several weeks, Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley read a statement for two minutes and 46 seconds at training camp that could not have been more ridiculous from start to finish.
Allow me to go through this line by line:
Beasley: “I wanted to start this off by saying I’m not anti or pro-vax. I’m pro-choice.”
Congratulations. Everybody has a choice in getting vaxxed or not. No one has forcibly put a needle in your arm. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, you don’t have to.
Beasley: “Information is being withheld from players in order for a player to be swayed in a direction he may not be comfortable with.”
1) I don’t believe this for a second. 2) It’s not like the NFL has secret information the rest of the world doesn’t have. What exclusive knowledge could the NFL possibly have about the vaccine? 3) The information you need is out there. There’s a pandemic. More than 600,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19. Vaccines were developed, and you can easily find out about their effectiveness.
In addition, most people who are now hospitalized with COVID-19 or dying from COVID-19 are not vaccinated. I’m not sure what other “information” is needed.
Beasley: “When dealing with a player’s health and safety, there should be complete transparency regarding information that is vital in the decision-making process. Without having all the proper information a player can feel misguided and unsure about a personal choice. It makes a player feel unprotected and gives concerns about future topics regarding health and our ability to make educated decisions. With regard to our overall safety, we have to know we are armed with full knowledge and understand that those in a position to help us will always do that based on our individual situation.”
This is a classic case of a person stringing together words and phrases to sound smart but it’s all gibberish and nonsense.
Roger Goodell took the vaccine and he’s requiring people in the NFL offices get vaccinated. There’s your transparency.
Beasley can’t claim the NFL doesn’t care about the players' health in this situation when the league employees are doing the very thing they’re asking the players to do. If Goodell and the people who work in the NFL offices have been vaccinated, Beasley’s theory about the league trying to turn the players into guinea pigs just doesn’t make any sense.
Beasley: “Some people may think that I’m being selfish in making this a me thing. It is all about the young players who don’t have a voice and are reaching out to me every day because they're being told if they don’t get vaxxed they’ll be cut. Agents are being told by teams that if they have unvaccinated guys they will not be given opportunities now to be seen in workouts. So once unvaxxed players get cut they’re losing a dream they have worked their whole lives over a vaccine that has proven to not keep people from contracting COVID, as we’ve seen.”
This is a nice attempt by Beasley to try to get credit for taking a stand for young players, but he’s already shown his hand on Twitter and made it clear this is just about him.
Beasley: “Every doctor I go to with questions begins every sentence with ‘what we know now,’ which tells me we don’t know enough.”
Yes, because these doctors operate in reality and with science, and can only go by what they know at the time.
In a nice attempt at deflection, Beasley then started rambling about testing and the players association, which has nothing to do with getting vaccinated.
He ended the statement by saying, “In regard to player safety, I will conclude by saying we all wanna be safe. For so many players around the NFL, safety does not solely mean avoiding the COVID virus.”
It is absolutely surreal, stunning and depressing that 16 months into this pandemic, there are still people like Beasley who don’t grasp the concept that this virus spreads like a mother-bleeper.
YOUR safety may not just depend on avoiding COVID-19, but what about your coaches, who are older? What about immunocompromised people around you? How is this still not understood by so many people?
On a total side note, how on earth did the Bills decide this was something they should highlight on their social media channels?
I would’ve thought the team was counting on Beasley sticking to his own words back on May 14.
2. A brand new episode of the SI Media Podcast dropped this morning, and it features an interview with Bryan Curtis of The Ringer.
The writer and co-host of The Pressbox Pod talks about a recent article he wrote about longtime Dallas broadcaster Dale Hansen and the death of the local news sportscaster.
Curtis also discusses how ESPN's problem with NBA Countdown got exposed during the Rachel Nichols–Maria Taylor controversy, why ESPN did not get its white whale in the new Monday Night Football deal with Peyton Manning, the low Olympics ratings and viewers' gripes about NBC's coverage, Charles Barkley's freedom, Siskel and Ebert and much more.
Following the interview with Curtis, Sal Licata from WFAN and SNY joins the podcast for the weekly "Traina Thoughts" segment, during which he discussed the worst time on the sports calendar, the viciousness of TikTok and more.
3. The Big 12 is not happy with ESPN's alleged role in trying to dismantle the conference while strengthening the SEC. ESPN obtained the rights to air the top SEC game each Saturday from CBS last year.
4. As a member of the media, I found it fascinating to watch Aaron Rodgers confirm everything the media reported the past few months and then blame the media for making stories. I kind of appreciated the audacity.
But the media didn't do this.
5. After the Giants cut tight end Kelvin Benjamin on Wednesday, Benjamin accused head coach Joe Judge of ... wait for it ... wait for it ... wait for it ... CURSING.
6. The Kevin Durant Twitter game is still going strong. Here's how he responded to someone saying Kyrie Irving needed a better team around him.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: If you're an old man and a pop culture freak like me, you know Jerry Lawler slapping Andy Kaufman on Letterman was a huge moment. It happened on this date in 1982.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.