The Washington Nationals have parted ways with multiple employees, including two scouts who would not get the COVID-19 vaccination.
They are the first professional baseball team to fire people who are not vaccinated. The organization, along with the Astros, told full-time, non-playing staff that they would be required to get vaccinated. Employees were told on August 12 that they would need to submit proof of vaccination by August 26. The Orioles sent an email to its employees saying anyone who works for the team full-time or part-time will need to be fully vaccinated by October 31.
In a statement to ESPN, the Nationals said, “As a company, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep one another safe and felt that mandating vaccines as the absolute right thing to do for our employees and our community.”
The National’s clubhouse had two COVID-19 outbreaks during the past season.
“Currently, nearly 75% of MLB teams have more than 85% of their Tier 1 employees — players, coaches, medical personnel and others — vaccinated, allowing for lesser restrictions on COVID-19 protocols,” reports Sports Illustrated.
Bob Boone, former catcher and manager who has been in the Nationals front office since 2005, was let go because he refused to get the vaccination. During his 18-year playing career, he was an All-Star four times and won seven Golden Gloves. His son, Aaron Boone, currently manages the New York Yankees.
The 73-year-old told The Washington Post that he was “unfortunately” parting ways with the team over the issue.
Minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman is on unpaid administrative leave for not getting vaccinated. The Nationals will fire him if he does not get vaccinated by September 15.
The MLB’s commissioner’s office mandated that employees be fully vaccinated. Its office on Sixth Avenue in New York was fully reopened on July 6.
“I’m a believer in vaccination. I understand that people have different views. I wish everybody gets vaccinated,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said at the All-Star Game.
The NHL and NBA are also requiring employees at league headquarters to be vaccinated before returning to work.
In an internal memo obtained by Newsweek, the NHL said “employees who are not fully vaccinated or have not submitted proof of vaccination status and do not have an approved accommodation in connection with the vaccine will be placed on unpaid leave as of September 13.”
Because of negotiations between Major League Baseball and their union, players cannot be required to get vaccinated.