Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward admitted that he hasn’t received the COVID-19 vaccine, but he believes the attention should be on fans in the stands, not the players on the field.
“There’s concern about players, (but) there needs to be more concern about people on the outside,” Heyward said via the Chicago Tribune. “The people in the stands, the 100 percent 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.”
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A year after a coronavirus-shortened season, Major League Baseball (MLB) teams decided to let fans into their ballparks this year, and some teams have even allowed full attendance at games. Wrigley Field, the home of the Cubs, had 35,225 fans during Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, and fans were not required to wear masks if they’ve been vaccinated.
Heyward sees these rules as the biggest issue.
“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 you 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 knows whose families are vaccinated and who’s not. We know if we test positive, we don’t show up to 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 people that is pretty much checked off on almost every single day.”
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According to an ESPN report last Friday, the Cubs are only one of eight teams that haven’t reached MLB’s 85% vaccination threshold. If Chicago reaches that number, the team would be able to loosen restrictions, which includes no longer being required to wear masks in the dugout.
Last month, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said that he was disappointed that more players haven’t received their vaccines. Heyward and first baseman Anthony Rizzo have made it public that they haven’t been vaccinated yet.