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Bills' Isaiah McKenzie Posts NFL's Letter for Fine After Violating COVID-19 Protocols

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2021

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: Isaiah McKenzie #19 of the Buffalo Bills warms up before the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens  at Bills Stadium on January 16, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie shared the letter he received from the NFL upon getting fined for violating the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The NFL told McKenzie he wasn't wearing a mask on two occasions while walking through the Bills facilities:

Isaiah McKenzie @_IsaiahMcKenzie

They got me! <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a> you win! <a href="https://t.co/Ewt498wmsy">pic.twitter.com/Ewt498wmsy</a>

Bills wideout Cole Beasley indicated he was fined as well:

Cole Beasley @Bease11

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. <a href="https://t.co/VGzoy0ljb4">https://t.co/VGzoy0ljb4</a>

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated masks are for the protection of others rather than the wearer. While masks provide some level of protection to the person wearing them, the extent of the protection they provide is still being studied.

The NFL told McKenzie he had been warned in July that "future violations of the protocols will result in increased discipline, including for conduct detrimental." NFL Network's Tom Pelissero noted the increased punishment includes a fine of up to one week's salary and a four-game unpaid suspension.

The NFL and NFL Players Association rolled out their new COVID-19 policy for training camp and the preseason in July.

The guidelines provide wider latitude for players and staffers who have been fully vaccinated. Those who haven't been vaccinated are still subject to requirements regarding masking, physical distancing and their travel.

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021 training camp and preseason, per source. <br><br>How different will life by for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? From the memo that just went to clubs: <a href="https://t.co/8yMPW0JBWZ">pic.twitter.com/8yMPW0JBWZ</a>

Unvaccinated players and staff members also have to quarantine when exposed to somebody carrying COVID-19. Beasley, Gabriel Davis, Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler were ordered to sit out practice for five days after having close contact with with a Bills trainer who tested positive for the virus. 

Beasley has been outspoken in his desire to remain unvaccinated. He wrote in June that he "may die of covid, but I'd rather die actually living."

On Monday, the United States' Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after previously sanctioning it and a number of others for emergency use during the pandemic.

In July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo laying out how teams that experience an outbreak among unvaccinated players may have to forfeit games that cannot be rescheduled. Players from both teams would also lose their game checks for any forfeited matchup.

The Bills open the regular season Sept. 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.