Unvaccinated Yankees and Mets players can now play at home as New York City mayor adjusts mandate ahead of Opening Day
On Thursday, Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York’s private sector COVID-19 vaccination mandate would be canceled specifically for artists and athletes in local venues. As for Major League Baseball, the reversal will allow unvaccinated New York Yankees and New York Mets players to play home games in the upcoming 2022 season.
Adams had previously maintained that the athletes would not receive special treatment. So far in the NBA, unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has notably been ineligible to play home games during the 2021-22 season. Yankees and Mets players not vaccinated against COVID-19 were expected to suffer the same fate until Thursday’s announcement, which came two weeks before Opening Day.
Players on opposing teams who are not vaccinated were still eligible to play in New York under the previous term, and Irving was even recently allowed to attend but not play home games.
“It’s about putting New York-based performance on a level playing field,” Adams said Thursday. “On my first day when I was mayor, I looked at the rule that said hometown players had an unfair disadvantage to those who came to visit me and I immediately felt we had to look at that. My medical professionals said we were in a different place.” We have to wait until we get to a point, we are in a low zone and we could review some mandates. We are here today. Currently, only non-residents are exempt under this decree. We are extending it to New York residents.
“Unimaginable, we treated our artists differently because they lived and played for local teams. This is not acceptable. This exemption has put our sports teams at a disadvantage, but this new order will help stimulate our economy.”
Irving has been playing on the road since January for the Nets this season, and there have been calls to rescind the private sector tenure for weeks.
It’s unclear which Yankees and Mets players are unvaccinated, though it’s been heavily implied that Aaron Judge is one of them. The judge dodged a question about his vaccination status earlier in spring training.
“I’m so focused on finishing the first game of spring training,” Judge said. “I think we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. But right now so much could change. I’m not really too worried about that at the moment.”
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, MLB and MLBPA have agreed that players who cannot play due to vaccination mandates can be placed on the shortlist. They will not be paid or accrue service time.
Former Marlins president David Samson discussed dropping out of NYC on Thursday’s Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
Opening day is April 7th. The Yankees open the season at home against the Red Sox. The Mets open the season with a seven-game road trip through Washington and Philadelphia. Their first home game is April 15 against the Diamondbacks.
Unvaccinated players will still not be allowed to enter Canada to play against the Blue Jays. Canada does not accept unvaccinated international visitors and there is no indication that the policy will change anytime soon.