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Derek Jeter’s statement about the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak raises more questions

Derek Jeter statement

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 08: Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter looks on from the empty stands during summer workouts at Marlins Park on July 08, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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Following the Miami Marlins COVID-19 outbreak that has caused the postponement of their home opener, team CEO Derek Jeter issued a statement:

The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these uncharted waters. After a successful Spring 2.0, we now have experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami. Postponing tonight’s home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation. We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

As far as statements go there is nothing surprising there. But Jeter’s claim that health is the top priority is hard to square with Don Mattingly’s statement yesterday after it was revealed that four players had tested positive: “We never considered not playing [Sunday]. We are taking risks every day.” It was a statement quickly followed up with an acknowledgment of the safety of the players’ health and family, but it’s hard to see that as anything other than a decision top prioritize playing over those health concerns. I mean, they took notice of those concerns and played on, right?

The “____ is our top priority” form of corporate statement is always -- always -- deployed when the thing the business is claiming to be its top priority has been manifestly compromised. If a plane crashes, “safety is our top priority.” If employees are mistreated, “the well-being of our workers is our top priority.” If there’s a chemical or oil spill, “responsible environmental practices are our top priority.” It’s become such a cliche that it’s hard to take that bit of businesspeak even remotely seriously.

What I’d like to hear is why the Marlins played a game with over 10% of its roster having tested positive and a bunch of other tests outstanding. What was the protocol that was followed and what, if anything, might have caused them to cancel that game if not the situation present at the time. Why, as Don Mattingly said, was the idea of cancelling the game “never considered” before today’s Marlins COVID-19 outbreak?

I don’t ask this rhetorically. I honestly do not know the decision process involved with the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak. It’s something, in light of today’s events and the Derek Jeter statement, that should be a lot more transparent than it is. I bet it’s something a lot of players want to know too.

Follow @craigcalcaterra