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Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott sees team's vaccination rate as a competitive disadvantage

McDermott sees Bills vaccination rate as competitive disadvantage
Posted at 4:45 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 16:45:50-04

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. [WKBW] — Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott believes the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal decision for each player to make. But he also knows that with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the NFL, the Bills are at a competitive disadvantage.

"Well, I think when the numbers are the numbers," McDermott said. "Some people are in a better position potentially than we are at this point just looking on the surface at the numbers. That being said, again, I go back to the personal decision on this thing and I respect our players' positions. In my personal opinion, it’s right to get vaccinated.”

For months, the Bills have been one of the talked-about teams when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine and that continued Thursday. Before practice, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie tweeted out a letter from the NFL, informing him that he was fined $14,650 for failing to wear a mask in the team facility. Fellow wide receiver Cole Beasley also chimed in, when he tweeted:

Don't worry they got me too. But I was wearing a mask when I was in close contact with the 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.

Beasley was referring to an incident that happened earlier in the week when four unvaccinated players were sent home after they had an exposure with a vaccinated team trainer that tested positive for COVID. It's a situation that could happen in the regular season and one the team is hoping to avoid.

"[It's] very frustrating, there are peoples livelihoods at stake in terms of peoples jobs and their performance is judged off of wins and losses," Sean McDermott said. "Being able to count on people is important, and so, if you’re going through a week and if this was a real week, and having the players out that we’ve had, that makes it hard to win games that way, and that’s the competitive piece of this."

Around the NFL several coaches have been firm and direct when sharing their thoughts on the COVID vaccine. McDermott was asked today how he believes his message has been received in the locker room.

“Respect is important, but that doesn’t mean I’m not passionate about my position and passionate about what I feel is the right thing to do for the greater good of this country and that in my opinion means getting vaccinated.”

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