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White Sox mandate vaccinations for all players

If you don’t get a shot, you won’t play anywhere in the system.

Fans Receive Free White Sox Tickets After Getting Vaccinated Scott Olson/Getty Images

The White Sox released a statement yesterday about their mandate for minor league players to show proof of their booster immunization, despite baseball not requiring minor leaguers to get vaccinated:

“The Chicago White Sox are requiring all of our employees to be up to date on their Covid-19 vaccination status, and this requirement extends to our minor-league players as well. We believe this is the right thing to do to protect the health and well being of all of our players and staff across the organization.”

This policy comes as no surprise, as the White Sox were one of the first teams to reach the 85% vaccination threshold to relax their Covid policies during the 2021 season (it was reported, in fact, that the White Sox hit 90% immediately). The White Sox have further claimed that in last year’s spring training, 100% of their players were vaccinated.

Not mentioned in the White Sox statement but reported additionally from baseball sources is that any player who refuses vaccination will be placed on the team’s restricted list — not released. This is significant, because in theory a player refusing vaccination, if released, could find work with another team, practicing greater laxity. While in theory an overstep of MLB’s requirements, the White Sox seek to ensure all players they control are behaving in the interests of public health and the greater good.

The importance of being vaccinated and protecting others should not be politicized, misconstrued, or misinterpreted in any way, shape or form. Vaccine mandates have been a part of our society and were a requirement for a majority of public and private schools. The mandate is a non-issue, and should be the standard for professional baseball player. The ones who have an issue or want to spread misinformation are definitely on the wrong side of history.

There are events that occur in our respective lifetimes that can impact on us, forever. For some of my loved ones, it was getting the polio vaccine as that disease was threatening and even impairing countless Americans. More recently, of course, it’s getting the vaccine against COVID-19. The polio vaccine was a breakthrough medical miracle, and was not politicized in the way that the COVID-19 vaccinations have been.

The need to protect others should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, as they weigh their options for the vaccine and what works best for them. Side effects range from none, to taking a day off of work for flu-like symptoms. The minimal side effects from getting vaccinated are far more tolerable and better than having to navigate a pandemic while unvaccinated. I would rather take a sick day off of work or school to manage minor symptoms than have to take bereavement leave for a loved one who died from Covid. Getting vaccinated against Covid was a no-brainer, and one of the easiest things I ever said yes to, along with becoming an organ donor in 2015. As an employee of the White Sox at the time, I even got my initial J&J vaccination at the ballpark, just a week or so before the regular season started.

As Major League Baseball remains in a lockout, the hope I have for the White Sox rings true with their mandate — and hopefully once the lockout ends, some promising free agent signings. (However, I do firmly believe that if the White Sox mandate vaccinations they are considering their players employees, and thus should play players for spring training.)

Get vaccinated, get boosted, wash your hands, and wear a mask. Simple, easy, and to the point!