Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Jason Heyward both made headlines over the weekend, as both players discussed their respective decisions not to receive coronavirus vaccination shots.
Rizzo told media on Friday that he had not been vaccinated against the virus, while Heyward discussed his decision not to receive the vaccine on Sunday.
The discussion comes as the Cubs continue to fall short of an MLB-mandated level of vaccination that would allow the club to dispense with many of the coronavirus restrictions still being implemented. At least 85% of the team’s “Tier 1” employees would need to receive the vaccine in order for those restrictions to be lifted, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer has said that the club hasn’t reached that level, and that he doesn’t anticipate that the club will.
Rizzo revealed Friday that he had not received the vaccine, saying that it hasn’t been an “easy decision” not to receive the treatment.
“It’s not an easy decision to make, but I think it’s the right decision for me and my family right now,” he said during an interview on ESPN 1000’s “Kap & J. Hood” show.
Rizzo said that he is “taking some more time to see the data” on vaccines.
Heyward said that he feels comfortable with the team’s track record in terms of avoiding COVID cases, and says that individuals outside of the organization should be more concerned about potential outbreaks among fans, who are not tested with the same regularity as players.
“They’re worried about us. They need to worry about people coming to the games,” Heyward said during an availability Sunday. “If (expletive) breaks out, and there’s a rise in (infections), it ain’t going to be because of something we did. We ain’t allowed to go around them. Could be something that happens because of people here not wearing masks when they’re told to please wear your mask.”
The Cubs have moved Wrigley Field back to 100% of its capacity in recent days, with fans no longer required to wear masks in seating areas if they have been vaccinated.
Several players, including Javy Báez, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, say that they have received their vaccines.