The COVID-19 pandemic has re-shaped society as a whole, and the operation of sporting events has been no different.
Athletes have had to adapt to a variety of protocols, and most spectators have also adapted — just not the ones who have been in refusal of receiving the shot, and are against vaccine mandates.
On the latest episode of Bring It In, Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin to discuss the enforcement of only fully vaccinated fans being able to attend stadiums and arenas across Canada.
Zirin, who thinks the word ‘discrimination’ should be removed from the conversation, touched on how sports venues are not exempt from helping in the fight against the disease and how governments have been taking long to stand up to the “urgency and immediacy” of the issue.
“When we talk about sports arenas, we speak about them as private businesses, but let’s be honest, these are also public trusts. Tax money goes in the building them. They are community areas,” Zirin said. “As a public square, they have a responsibility to public health and they have a responsibility to the law. On both of those grounds, keep out the unvaccinated.”
“We’re not getting leadership from the political class on this issue,” he added. “If people are going to show leadership, whether it’s the unions [or] the businesses themselves, I’m for anybody with the ability to mitigate this [by] showing some form of leadership.”
WATCH l Discussing mandatory vaccine passports as fans return to stadiums:
In Toronto, the Blue Jays of the MLB will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from fans as of Sept. 13. The NHL’s Maple Leafs, NBA’s Raptors, CFL’s Argonauts and Toronto FC of MLS, all owned by Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment (MLSE) will have the same protocols in place protocols by mid-September and will apply to employees, event staff and guests.
The CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks and NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are a few others that have also followed suit.
“I think it’s no different when you think of the fact that firearms are not allowed in venues either,” McPeak said. “You’re trying to protect the safety of those that are attending events at your venues, whether it’s concerts, sporting events [or] conventions.”
McPeak believes vaccine mandates are no different than other types of restrictions that were always around, such as not being able to get into an event without wearing clothes, shoes or with a pet that’s not a service animal.
“You’re just adding one more layer of trying to protect your patrons.”