The Philadelphia Phillies will conclude their two-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays tonight, but they've done so without four of their top players. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is one of them, but he doesn't regret his decision to remain unvaccinated.
"I'm a healthy 31-year-old professional athlete, and I just didn't feel a need to get [the vaccine]," he said. "I've had COVID a couple of times [with] super-mild symptoms back when it first came out, and when it came time to decide whether I needed the vaccine or not, I talked with doctors that I knew and told them my story and just really decided I didn't think I needed it. I wasn't gonna take it just 'cause I was told to, basically."
Realmuto’s logic echoes that of Boston Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck, who was also barred from crossing into Canada in recent weeks due to his unvaccinated status.
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Like Houck, Realmuto has been subject to the media trying to frame him as a disloyal teammate. Thankfully, those within the Phillies clubhouse are coming to the aid of their catcher, whose opinions are the only ones that Realmuto should concern himself with.
“We got each other’s back,” outfielder Kyle Schwarber said. “There isn’t one hard feeling. Just because we're headed to Toronto doesn’t mean someone is being a bad teammate because they didn’t get it, right? It all comes down to a personal decision. It’s unfortunate that Canada is not letting people in that will be in a controlled environment, but we can’t tell a government what to do.”
Watch the video below for more of Realmuto’s self-defense.
J.T. Realmuto on not being able to join the Phillies in Toronto due to his vaccination status: pic.twitter.com/7suM66OYaB— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 12, 2022