By Sam Dorman
Published August 01, 2020
Former baseball star Johnny Damon on Saturday opposed ending the season due to COVID-19, but criticized Major League Baseball's decision to play games at ball parks around the country.
"I think it would be a major embarrassment," he told Fox News host Neil Cavuto of a possible end to an already abbreviated season.
But he added: "I really thought all the games should have been in Arizona, Las Vegas or Florida. Try to keep these guys in a bubble.
"Because right now, they play a game, they get on a bus, they go to the airport, go through security, they fly, get on another bus when they land, and then go to the hotel. So there’s a lot of moving parts that they are doing, and it makes it very difficult to control the coronavirus -- and it's going to be here forever, and we have to learn how to live with the coronavirus."
Damon said Americans should "show respect" to each other and wear masks when appropriate, like when visiting a grocery store.
Sports leagues are wrestling with how to continue hosting games without putting people's health at risk. On Friday, 20 percent of MLB games were cancelled due to positive coronavirus tests.
As Cavuto noted, the NFL prohibited its players from attending venues like indoor bars and house parties. Players who contract the coronavirus could be disciplined or lose their pay if they engage in what the league considers "high-risk conduct" -- including, for example, attending indoor bars, nightclubs and concerts with more than 15 people.
On Saturday, Damon said those types of restrictions are unnecessary because most players are "smarter than what the media's telling us."
"We know that when we’re sick, don’t go out to bars. We know not to congregate so much. So let’s just be smart and baseball players -- hang out in the hotel room, play cards, get your Tito's, get your Miller Lites after the game."
The two-time World Series champ urged pro athletes to help businesses that have been hurt by the pandemic and unrest stemming from the George Floyd killing.
"The bars are struggling. The small businesses are struggling. So that’s the No. 1 thing that we really need to do and help out -- and especially the people whose businesses were torn up in the riots. Insurance doesn’t cover that," he said. "So there’s a lot of things we need to get moving and hopefully Congress can figure something out. I mean, they haven’t really done much in the past three years."