Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated is reporting that Major League Baseball is partnering with the Utah lab that runs its performance-enhancing drug program for coronavirus testing.
The lab, The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, recently participated in the COVID-19 antibody study in which Major League Baseball and its employees played a large role. The lab has also been tapped for COVID-19 testing by the California State Athletic Commission and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which are the two bodies that regulate the most high-profile boxing and mixed martial arts events in the country.
Verducci characterizes their participation like this:
In partnership with MLB, the Utah lab, The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, not only would provide coronavirus testing for the 3,000 or so baseball players and support staff but also for thousands more in the general public. Under that plan, MLB would provide a net gain to public testing rather than drawing from existing resources.
The question I have, though, is they’re regularly testing 3,000+ MLB people, and the boxing and mixed martial arts people, and any other sports which come to them for COVID testing, is that not taking potential tests away from the public?
Or is it the case that that this testing capacity at this lab did not exist or was not available to the public until MLB decided to come pay for some? In which case, is this not a situation in which, in order to serve their paying customer — MLB — they’re spinning off some tests to the public too?
Either way, I’m struggling to understand why Major League Baseball, a paying customer or not, has what appears to be priority access to fast-turnaround COVID-19 testing when there is still a shortage of COVID-19 testing in a country in the midst of a pandemic.