By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Earlier this week, Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley tested positive for COVID-19. Because he is unvaccinated — proudly so — the positive test requires him to miss 10 days of work, which forced him to miss the Bills’ crucial Week 16 game in New England.
After learning the news, Beasley played the victim card, posting on Instagram that “COVID is not keeping me out of this game. The rules are.”
On Sunday, by way of a selective leak of information, the NFL punched back.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that Beasley has been fined multiple times by the NFL this season for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Mortensen said the sum total of Beasley’s fines is around $100,000. The first fine was levied in August, and he’s been fined several times since then.
The $14,600 fine has been doubled on more than one occasion via video monitoring by the league. One source estimated the $100,000 total sum, another source believed it was just short of that amount.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 26, 2021
Mortensen added that Beasley will still receive his game check for Sunday, despite being out due to a positive case. Mortensen said some NFL executives want unvaccinated players to forfeit their game checks if they test positive.
The 32-year-old Beasley spent much of the offseason and summer tweeting about his decision to not receive a COVID vaccination. Earlier this week, he complained that his vaccinated teammate who was in the hospital due to COVID “didn’t get this same energy” from folks who have been critical of Beasley.
As for Sunday’s game, Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne provided a case of how advantageous it can be for players to be vaccinated. Bourne tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, but he was cleared to play for Sunday’s game by Saturday. If Bourne was unvaccinated, he’d be out for Sunday’s game no matter what.
As for Beasley, he’ll be a spectator — with a lighter wallet — for Sunday’s de facto AFC East championship. His most recent social media post indicated he’s not particularly bothered by his current predicament.
“Just checking in everybody,” Beasley captioned a photo of him with a beaming grin. “I’m still partying! Be back soon. Hate it or love it. Go Bills!”