MLB Network Bans Star Analysts John Smoltz and Al Leiter from Studio After Refusing Covid Vaccine
Baseball Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz and former All-Star Al Leiter will no longer appear in studio for MLB Network after refusing get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The network reportedly issued a mandate earlier this year for all employees to receive the vaccine, which Smoltz and Leiter refused. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Smoltz and Leiter will continue contributing to the network remotely, despite not being allowed in their Secaucus, NJ studios.
Smoltz is still scheduled to provide game analysis for a division series on MLB Network during the playoffs. It’s not clear whether that will be done remotely or in a stadium booth next to his likely vaccinated play-by-play partner. The 54-year-old Smoltz is also the lead analyst for baseball coverage on Fox, but they are unaffiliated with MLB Network and will issue their own set of Covid protocols.
In March, Leiter joined former Yankee CC Sabathia and then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for a Covid-19 briefing to announce fans would be allowed to attend Mets and Yankees games this season. Leiter did not discuss the vaccine or comment on the pandemic during his appearance.
It’s also fair to question the future of both Smoltz and Leiter with MLB Network. Considering the rate at which Covid is currently spreading throughout the country, MLB Network is unlikely to drop their vaccine mandate by the start of next season. While both analysts could continue to work remotely, it’s not an ideal permanent solution.
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