The Chicago Cubs still haven't hit the 85 percent vaccination threshold, and may never if their president of baseball operations is to be believed.
Jason Heyward doesn't think that's a problem, or at least not as much of a problem as what's happening in the Wrigley Field stands. Speaking with the Chicago Tribune's Phil Thompson, Heyward said he still hasn't received the COVID-19 vaccine, but pointed to the protocols around MLB's fans as ballparks move to 100 percent capacity:
“There’s concern about players,” Heyward said, “(but) there needs to be more concern about people on the outside, the people in the stands, the 100% sitting next to each other that aren’t getting tested the way we are getting tested and say they’re vaccinated or not — if they’re concerned.”
Heyward reportedly said the choice of getting vaccinated should be a player's own decision and pointed to a past reaction to a flu shot — "I was out of it for three days and I was younger" — as a reason for not wanting to take the vaccine during the season. Of course, he would be out for much longer than three days if he were to test positive for the virus.
He also reportedly complained that the media doesn't cover adverse reactions to the virus enough (it does) and seemed to claim that Cubs players were relatively safe because of how frequently they get tested:
“I don’t think they’re saying, ‘OK, you’re not wearing a mask, you’re not wearing a mask, you’re not wearing a mask, so y’all need to go somewhere.’ They’re not even thinking about doing that,” Heyward said. “But they are pointing at the people that get tested at least three times a week, we’re around each other every day, who know whose families are vaccinated and who’s not. We know if we test positive, we don’t show up the next game. Therefore, if we’re present and we’re here, none of us tested positive.
“To me it feels like a lot of wasted concern on a group of a people that is pretty much checked off on almost every single day.”
It should probably be noted a person can be contagious with the virus well before testing positive.
Heyward's comments come two days after Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo made headlines by saying he isn't vaccinated. If two of the Cubs' longest tenured players are representative of how most of the players view the vaccine, it appears unlikely they will reach the 85 percent threshold that allows for the relaxation of certain safety protocols.
22 out of MLB's 30 teams have already reached the threshold.
Heyward still didn't seem to think it mattered, and continued to play the "what about" game with fans:
“In the grand scheme it doesn’t matter,” he said about players’ vaccination rates. “You can take it and say, ‘Oh, Jason Heyward, or whoever, didn’t get the vaccination because’ … all right, that goes out there, and then tomorrow nobody gives a damn. … There’s still someone coming to a game who didn’t get vaccinated, sitting around other people who are vaccinated or not vaccinated, not wearing a mask.
“There’s still people getting in movies, still people going out, they’ll be at Lollapalooza, they’ll be at the freaking air show, not vaccinated, not wearing a mask, doing whatever they want to do.”
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