After the All-Star break, the player is saying something different.
Merrifield's lack of vaccinations hindered him from participating in the Royals traveling to Toronto to face Toronto's Blue Jays before the break. At the time, Merrifield, an outfielder and second baseman, described his stance as follows: “If it was doing what it was supposed to do and stopping the spread of COVID, [then] I would have a little more willingness to take it, but it's not doing that.”
In the course of Friday's proceedings, Merrifield walked back what was described as “poorly articulated” comments about the effectiveness of the vaccine. He also apologized.
“I'm sorry that I poorly articulated the point I was trying to make,” Merrifield said to reporters. “It's an uneasy topic, and I began rambling and trying to convey a message about my desire to win which was not relevant to the subject being debated. Sincerely sorry.”
Merrifield apologized for saying that he may consider rethinking his vax eligibility if were to be traded to a team that is in serious playoff position.
“I didn't say people misunderstood it, I poorly articulated the point I was trying to say,” Merrifield explained. “If the only thing standing between me and my playoffs was the vaccine, I'd think about getting it. It wasn't that I said I'd choose to get it for a different team, or that I wouldn't want it for the team I play on. This was just an example of how much I appreciate being a part of tournaments.”
Merrifield says that at that moment, he did not think about how his remarks could be read.
“Unfortunately, I didn't really realize what I said,” Merrifield stated. “It required me to study the text to see the way it might be perceived. … It's been a long time since I've been wanting to be a part of the playoffs from the moment I put on my cleats, and the desire is powerful. The vaccination thing … Some people have strong opinions about it. I am not exactly sure what my feelings are about it.”
Although the Royals player knows that his remarks will have an impact.
“These guys in here know me and know what I'm all about and how much I care for them,” he stated. “Every time I've stepped into the field and moved between the lines, I've given all I could every day. If someone feels the desire to express their emotions toward me, it's fine.”