Mookie Betts was asked earlier this year, before the Major League Baseball season began, about taking the vaccine.
It was in March, and according to Los Angeles Dodgers beat writer Bill Plunkett, Betts no-commented when initially asked whether or not he’d take one of the vaccines, which at the time were becoming widely available.
“That whole vaccine is a personal decision. I’d like to just leave it in the clubhouse,” Betts said, leading many to believe he was skeptical about getting his shot(s).
Now, Betts is urging others to get vaccinated, CBS Los Angeles reported earlier today. The Dodgers outfielder made an appearance at a Ralphs (a supermarket) in downtown Los Angeles with the goal to aid “the vaccination effort in underserved communities.”
“Just trying to get everyone to understand we need to get the world back to normal and it starts with this,” said Betts.
Betts is an athlete who publicly evolved his tone on COVID vaccinations, which we haven’t seen much of in sports. Famously, several NFL players have come out over the last month and said they either wouldn’t take the vaccine yet because they need to “do their own research” like Montez Sweat or Sam Darnold, or they just won’t, like Cole Beasley. It was reported that 65 percent of NFL players have received at least one COVID shot as of last week.
For Major League Baseball, 22 of the 30 teams relaxed their COVID protocols on June 12. The league said two weeks later, just a few days ago, that 23 teams had reached the 85 percent threshold. On that same day, the league noted in their weekly COVID report that zero positive tests came back after 1,854 of them were conducted. In total, as of June 25, the league has conducted 205,377 tests, bringing back 66 positives (37 players and 29 staffers).
Still, there is vaccine apprehension in sports, and around the world in totality. Perhaps Betts, a former MVP and two-time World Series champion, could be another meaningful voice in the effort.