The Washington Nationals has become the first Major League Baseball team to part ways with employees over a COVID vaccine mandate. Team sources have confirmed to ESPN that vice president Bob Boone has told the Nationals he will resign instead of complying. Sources tell the Athletic that eight scouts have been told they won't be with the team next season, and the vaccine policy is the reason for at least two of the departures. The Nationals said last week that vaccination had been made mandatory for all full-time staff. "Employees were notified of this policy on Aug. 12 and had until Aug. 26 to either provide proof of full vaccination, proof of first shot or apply for an exemption," the team said.
Boone, a former catcher and four time-All Star, has been with the Nationals since 2004 and became a VP and senior adviser to general manager Mike Rizzo in 2015, the AP reports. He is the father of New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who announced in March that he had been vaccinated. Boone, 73, tells the Washington Post that he is "unfortunately" parting ways with the Nationals. Other unvaccinated employees are now on unpaid administrative leave and will have their contracts terminated if they don't get the shot by Sept. 15, the Post reports. Players, meanwhile, are not required to be vaccinated because the players' union and MLB failed to reach an agreement on a vaccine mandate. (Read more vaccine mandate stories.)