Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball’s proposal to the players includes a revision to the league’s Operations Manual which would require players to sign an “acknowledgment of risk” waiver before playing.
The players, quite reasonably, believe that the waiver is aimed at undermining their ability to file grievances against the league in the event that they are placed in unsafe working conditions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I mean, why else would they be proposing it now?
Either way, given how much uncertainty there is regarding what safe practices may be once play resumes, shifting all of the risk onto the players, while a predictable aim of the owners, is not a reasonable one. The only way for baseball to work during the pandemic will be if everyone is truly incentivized to make conditions as safe as possible for everyone in and around the game. A waiver does the opposite of that.
This is especially troubling given that Major League Baseball has claimed that it intends to contact and coordinate with local health departments on its safety protocols but, per Bradford William Davis’ reporting in the New York Daily News, they simply haven’t done so.
Between this and counteroffers that continue to want to pay players cents on the dollar, it’s almost as if Major League Baseball is looking for a way to get out of playing a 2020 season altogether.