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Former Red Sox coach blasts MLB for COVID-19 vaccine stance

Former Red Sox coach Tom Goodwin claims MLB bullied non-playing personnel into getting vaccinated

When the Boston Red Sox made their unexpected foray into the 2021 postseason, they were without a key member of the staff.

Major League Baseball had implemented a vaccine mandate for non-playing personnel in the postseason, and Tom Goodwin was unvaccinated. He had already missed several games in August when deemed a close contact with bench coach Will Venable, who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Red Sox, who were projected to win a meager 79 regular-season games, made it all the way to Game 6 of the ALCS, before falling to the Houston Astros. As soon as the offseason began, the Sox dismissed Goodwin.

Now, Goodwin is claiming that the league “bullied” non-playing personnel into getting vaccinated:

“I’ve never been an anti-vax guy. I didn’t feel it was right the way MLB was doing it.

I really felt — and it was just how I felt, maybe I was wrong, maybe I wasn’t — but that we were being bullied, the personnel who did not get vaccinated, by MLB. Because they could bully us. They could bully the coaches.

It brings up that there needs to be some sort of coaches’ union that will fight for us in a situation like this, where if a guy had strong beliefs about not being vaccinated, those should count for something. It shouldn’t just be OK, ‘Well, then you’re done.

There was no choice. It was either you get vaccinated or you’re not going to be on the field.”

Red Sox: Tom Goodwin takes shot at MLB

There’s a lot to unpack here, but the key takeaway is that MLB did give personnel a choice. Goodwin illustrates the choice himself when claiming he did not have one. Just because he didn’t like the options doesn’t mean he wasn’t given them.

While MLB did wait until mid-September to announce the postseason vaccine mandate, it wasn’t exactly a surprise. Vaccinations became available to the public early in 2021, and MLB teams spent the season urging everyone from players to the public to get vaccinated. Ballparks held free vaccination clinics and offered free tickets and other rewards to those who opted to get vaccinated. Goodwin saying he needed more time to get vaccinated before the postseason is an excuse and a flimsy one at that.

But before you cry about Goodwin getting canceled, he’s already found a new job as a roving instructor in the Atlanta Braves farm system. He’s also gotten vaccinated.

Ultimately, almost two years after the pandemic putting Spring Training 2020 on hold, it’s hard to have sympathy for someone who was getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to work for a top-tier baseball team, especially when they have no real leg to stand on in this argument.

Goodwin played baseball at Fresno State University and was a member of the United States baseball team that brought home the gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, before getting drafted by the Dodgers in the first round of the 1989 MLB Draft. He then played 14 seasons in the majors, before becoming a coach.

All this to say, Goodwin has no medical training. He is not a doctor, nor is he a scientist, yet he wanted to do his own research, rather than listen to actual experts.

Every person is entitled to their own opinion and to make their own choices. However, opinions are not always fact, and choices have consequences; Goodwin just doesn’t like the consequences of his choice.


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