MLB Star Sends Fierce Memo to Canada, Defends Decision to Miss Games Due to Vaccine Policy
By Abby Liebing
July 13, 2022 at 3:44pm
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto and three other players will be unavailable for a two-game series in Toronto due to Canadas COVID-19 vaccine policy.
The three-time All-Star Realmuto is not vaccinated. But missing the Toronto games and losing pay, as a result, is not swaying him.
Im not going to let Canada tell me what I do and dont put in my body for a little bit of money, Realmuto said in an interview with NBC Sports. Its just not worth it.
Realmuto is joined on the restricted list by infielder Alec Bohm and pitchers Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson, the Associated Press reported.
Being on the restricted list means they will not be paid for the Toronto series.
Realmuto will lose $262,363. Nola is missing out on $184,835. Gibson is set to lose $76,923, and Bohm will get docked $7,857, according to the AP.
The 25-year-old Bohm said he is disappointed that his decision will affect the whole team, but that it was a personal choice and he would deal with the consequences.
Yeah, thats the difficult part of it, Bohm said. I wish it didnt have to be like that. Its a personal deal. Ive made a choice, and theres consequences that come with that and I have to suffer those. It is what it is.
Even though he is losing money because of this decision, Realmuto is also not budging on his decision about the vaccine.
Im a healthy, 31-year-old professional athlete, Realmuto said. I just didnt feel the need to get it. Ive had COVID a couple times, super mild symptoms, back when it first came out. When it came time to decide whether I needed a vaccine or not, I talked to a couple doctors that I knew and told them my story, and just really decided I didnt think I needed it. I wasnt going to take it just because I was told to, basically.
Despite the many opinions about vaccines, the nature of the COVID-19 virus and the policies surrounding both, personal decisions like this have to be respected.
It is deplorable that Bohm, Realmuto, Gibson and Nola will be losing money due to their personal and private medical decision.
But even more than just respecting private medical decisions, penalizing these players just doesnt make sense.
These Phillies players arent trying to stir up political issues, break rules or rebel against Canada.
These are professional athletes. It is literally their job to keep their bodies in perfect condition in order to play baseball. So they have to make medical decisions accordingly.
Realmuto, for instance, has signed a five-year deal with the Phillies for $115,500,000 (which incidentally makes him the highest-paid catcher in MLB history, Fansided reported.)
That means his body is basically worth $115,500,000. He is not going to compromise that with a vaccine that he has any doubts about, especially after consulting with doctors.
This is the case with all professional athletes. In the crudest salary and money terms, their bodies are worth millions and millions of dollars.
That is not something they will or should take lightly.
But now, they are being penalized for doing their job and taking care of their bodies.
Aside from any argument about the ethics of vaccine requirements and policies, everyone should be able to agree that penalizing Realmuto, Bohm, Gibson and Nola for choosing not to be vaccinated simply doesnt make sense.
These players should be hailed for sticking to their choices, despite the consequences, and also, for just doing their jobs, even when MLBs regulations are nonsensical.
Is he really worth $115 Million? I think these salaries are inflated when compared to what they were 30 years ago.