DeMaurice Smith Rips 'Stupidity' of Bills GM Brandon Beane's Vaccination RemarksMay 18, 2021
NFL Players Association executive DeMaurice Smith was not pleased with Brandon Beane after the Buffalo Bills general manager indicated he would be more likely to cut a player who didn't get a COVID-19 vaccine.
"When a General Manager speaks out and says something that is not only inconsistent with league policy, but just has a rank disregard for the rights of our players, I don’t know any other way of characterizing that other than just the stupidity that underlines it," Smith said Monday at the annual Sports Lawyers Association conference, per Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
The NFL does not plan on requiring players to get vaccinated for the upcoming season, but it has incentivized the action with loosened protocols for fully vaccinated players.
Vaccinated players will only need to be tested weekly instead of daily and they will no longer be required to wear masks at the team facilities. The league could also allow in-person meetings for teams that reach a certain percentage of players vaccinated.
Beane gave his honest assessment when asked by One Bills Live if he would cut a player if the team was one away from reaching those requirements, per Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN:
"Yeah. I would. Because it'd be an advantage. We're laughing, but these meetings [last season] were not as productive as before. You guys saw it in the field house—sometimes we'd have three to four meetings going on, and sometimes you're talking over each other. But it was the only way to pull it off and be socially distanced.
"So it would be an advantage to cut a player and fall under that umbrella."
The league reportedly spoke to Beane about the comments and noted teams are not allowed to cut players based on vaccination status, per Josh Alper of NBC Sports.