Move over, Kyrie Irving. You have company.
A New York City Council spokesman said Tuesday that unvaccinated New York Yankees and New York Mets players will not be allowed to play home games, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
This is not because of New York City’s sweeping health and safety rules that bar unvaccinated people from gyms, restaurants and entertainment complexes, which Mayor Eric Adams repealed last week. According to the Daily News, unvaccinated professional athletes are barred from playing due to a private employer mandate put in place by former Mayor Bill deBlasio in late December. This mandate is the same one that currently prevents unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets Irving from playing at home.
The spokesman told the Daily News that the mandate may change in the future, but no individual exceptions will be made.
“We have to worry about the health of almost nine million people. No one is trying to hurt Kyrie Irving or a Yankees player,” the spokesman said via the Daily News.
Additionally, the spokesman said the Yankees and Mets playing their games outdoors has nothing to do with the mandate: It applies to them the same way it applies to Irving and the Nets. Unvaccinated MLB players from any team will also not be allowed to travel to Canada when their team plays the Toronto Blue Jays.
Aaron Judge keeps dodging the vaccination question
While more than 80 percent of MLB Tier 1 employees and players have been vaccinated by the end of the 2021 season, there is still hesitation. It’s not known which Yankees and Mets players aren’t vaccinated, but Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who didn’t answer the vaccine question last year, continued along those lines Tuesday, saying he’s putting a lot of focus on in spring training and won’t say if he’s vaccinated or not.
As for whether the mandate is likely to change soon, Adams continues to enforce it. According to the Daily News, he “has not indicated that he is considering abandoning the private sector mandate.” Last month, Adams fired nearly 1,500 city employees who had refused to receive the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine. Abandoning the private sector mandate and keeping the public sector mandate would be a controversial move for Adams, who took office on January 1, 2022.