Biden made his comments in an interview with ESPN’s Sage Steele that airs Wednesday on SportsCenter at 11 p.m. ET.
The Rangers Globe Life Field, which seats 40,300, is the only Major League Baseball stadium that will offer 100% seating capacity on opening day.
“Well, that’s a decision they made. I think it’s a mistake, ”Biden said. “They should listen to Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, scientists and experts. But I think it is not responsible. ”
When asked how he would advise players who might be hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Biden said, “I would say I’m President of the United States and have been vaccinated. I don’t have an unimportant job. take the vaccine if I thought it would hurt me? We have done incredible research on vaccines and they have shown that they work. We need to get to the point where enough people have taken the vaccine that we decrease the possibility of it spreading. ”
In order to potentially encourage players to receive one of the three approved vaccines, Major League Baseball sent teams a memo on Monday outlining relaxed protocols for vaccinated players, coaches and staff, allowing them to eat out, to congregate indoors and make full use of the clubhouse facilities, among other activities. The league has specified two sets of relaxed protocols: one for individuals two weeks away from full vaccination withdrawal; and the other for teams that vaccinate 85% of their level 1 employees.
People in the industry have already expressed concern that enough players would agree to be vaccinated for relaxed protocols to take effect. But St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Wednesday his team had already reached that mark, and Houston Astros third goalie Alex Bregman expressed confidence his team would eventually do the same. Other clubs are expected to follow.
“Well, that’s a decision they made. I think this is a mistake. They should listen to Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, scientists and experts. But I think it’s not responsible. ”
President Joe Biden at full capacity at Globe Life Field on opening day
The Washington Nationals, however, announced that they had received a positive COVID-19 test from an undisclosed player and that four other players would miss Thursday’s opening game against the visiting New York Mets as part of the game. of the contact tracing protocol.
The Nationals will open their stadium to 5,000 fans on Thursday, a 12 percent capacity that is tied with the Boston Red Sox for the lowest in sport.
Several teams hope to join the Rangers on the 100% mark during the summer. The NFL, meanwhile, is already planning to welcome fans at full capacity when its season opens on September 9, Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week.
Biden noted that more than 600 million doses of the three vaccines – Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna – have been purchased by the U.S. government and that 75% of people aged 65 and over have received at least one.
“We operate in all areas that way,” Biden said. “This will decrease the prospects of its spread. In terms of responsibility [for stadiums to open at full capacity] – you see what is happening in Europe now when they lifted the mandates. I don’t know why we don’t just follow the science and beat it – just beat it. We are going to have enough vaccines, vaccinators. We have opened places. We are doing everything we can to make it clear to people, ‘Get the vaccine as soon as possible’. At the end of [April], we’re going to be in a position where everyone can get vaccinated. ”
As the MLB and MLB Players Association grapple with player vaccinations and their impact on evolving health and safety protocols, the league and union are also watching for a potential controversy surrounding the July All-Star Game at Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp enacted a sweeping, Republican-sponsored bill last week that includes new restrictions on postal voting and increased legislative control over the conduct of elections, a bill that , critics say, will disproportionately deprive voters of color.
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark had previously said he would “look forward to” discussions on moving the Midsummer Classic out of Truist Park, and Biden, a Democrat, said he would “strongly support” a such decision.
“People are looking to them,” Biden said, referring to professional athletes and their oversized platforms. “They are leaders. Look at what happened with the NBA too. Look at what has happened in all areas. The people who have been the victims the most are the leaders in these different sports, and that is not fair. Here’s Jim Crow on steroids, which they do in Georgia and 40 other states. What is it about? Imagine the passing of a law prohibiting the provision of food or water to someone who is in line to vote. You can not do this? Come on. Or are you going to close the polling station at 5 o’clock when people have just come down? It’s about preventing the people who work with whom I grew up voting. ”
Biden described his wife, Dr Jill Biden, as a die-hard fan of Philadelphia sports teams and said his family’s best athletes were women, noting that one of his granddaughters was in two sports. Biden and his wife greeted Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe and US women’s football teammate Margaret Purce in the Oval Office last Wednesday, then watched Rapinoe speak at an Equal Pay Day event. In which she said she had been “devalued” as a woman. .
The US Census Bureau estimated that in 2019, women earned 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man.
“I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think it’s fair,” Biden told Steele. “That’s why I supported Title IX. ”