With more than half of the Miami Marlins sidelined after 21 members of their traveling party tested positive for COVID-19, the team had to pause its season for more than one week.
Rumors were circulating that some players went out partying at clubs during a road series against the Atlanta Braves.
And on Monday, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter confirmed that members of the organization certainly broke Major League Baseball’s safety protocols, but not in the way that people think.
“Some of our traveling party had a false sense of security and comfort in how they handled themselves when we left Miami,” Jeter said in a virtual press conference.
Jeter expressed his frustration with the media, calling it “disheartening” that more people haven’t shown concern or empathy for players or staff who have tested positive, though none are seriously ill.
Instead, rumors about players acting irresponsibly have dominated the conversation.
“Our team and our players deserve better than that, and as I mentioned these guys are sick. Our guys were not running all around town after our game in Atlanta,” Jeter insisted.
“We did have a couple of individuals leave the hotel. In our review, it was determined that we had guys leave to get coffee, to get clothes, a guy left to have dinner at a teammate’s house. There were no other guests on site. There was no salacious activity. There was no hanging out at bars, no clubs, no running around Atlanta. No running around the town. What it boiled down to on this particular trip was guys were around each other. They got relaxed and they let their guard down. They were getting together in groups, they weren’t wearing their masks as much as they should have. They weren’t social distancing. And everyone was getting tested. We went the whole Spring Training 2.0 without a positive and the entire traveling party got a little too comfortable.
“There is no way to identify how this got into our clubhouse, but any activities on Tuesday night were not it.”
Miami Marlins Virtual Press Conference with CEO Derek Jeter.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 4, 2020
Jeter said he hopes that other teams will look at the Marlins’ situation as a learning experience.
So if a player from another team has the urge to go out for “a milk,” perhaps it’s best not to.