Bayern Munich Reduces Salaries Of Unvaccinated Players

Bayern Munich suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat to Augsburg on Friday, in part a result of the team’s lethargic performance but also because a growing number of players have been forced to quarantine under Covid-19 regulations. Now it seems unvaccinated Bayern players will be losing more than playing time.

Bild am Sonntag reported on Sunday that unvaccinated Bayern players who are forced to quarantine will not be paid while in isolation. A number of players, chief among them Germany star midfielder Joshua Kimmich, were reportedly told their salaries would be retroactively reduced after missing game and practice time. 

Niklas Süle tested positive for Covid-19 in the lead-up to Friday’s loss to Augsburg, forcing Kimmich to isolate and miss the match. He was joined in quarantine on Sunday by Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Michael Cuisance, who reportedly came into contact with a coach who tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. 

Kimmich has become the Aaron Rodgers of Germany for his stance against getting the Covid-19 vaccine, publicly refusing to be vaccinated for “personal reasons.” Like the NFL quarterback, Kimmich has missed matches for this view; he hasn’t ruled out getting the vaccine and is adamant he isn’t anti-vax, but his actions suggest otherwise.

Bayern winger Leroy Sané, for one, has encouraged Kimmich, Gnabry and any other unvaccinated Bayern players to get the shot, which has been proven to be safe and effective.

“I have been vaccinated myself and am someone who stands for it,” Sané said. “I mentioned it to Serge before. Of course, I want them to be in the squad, to be on the pitch with us and to be able to help us. They are important players for us. We as a team want to have them with us, there’s no question about that. But I respect your choice. We have already said everything about it. The players know how things stand.”

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With infections in Germany reaching record levels this week, people are still refusing to protect themselves against the deadly disease. Less than 70 percent of Germany has been vaccinated, resulting in renewed restrictions in some regions of the country. Protests in countries throughout Europe broke out over the weekend against tightening Covid-19 rules (in the Netherlands, it was described as an “orgy of violence,” which is a great band name). 

Risk of losing out on pay has proven to be an excellent motivator to get vaccinated. In the U.S., more than 90 percent of federal workers received at least one dose of the vaccine by President Joe Biden’s Monday deadline, a significant achievement to protect the country’s 3.5 million federal employees. Perhaps the unvaccinated Bayern players will opt to get the shot after losing out on a week’s pay. Given Kimmich’s 20-million-euro salary ($22.5m), he will miss about $432,000 per week he is in quarantine. 

Now for some personal thoughts. If you’re an anti-vax buffoon, you probably want to stop reading now. 

It is truly a marvel of human progress how quickly we as a species were able to create and distribute a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, instead of celebrating this achievement, many continue to politicize the vaccine for some reason, refusing to protect themselves and their loved ones from a now-preventable disease. They make bizarre references to doing their own research, which usually involves listening to unsubstantiated and anecdotal evidence from some disreputable podcast that simultaneously encourages the use of dangerous, unproven remedies that do more harm than good.

To make matters worse, the last time I wrote about vaccines, a few vocal Facebook readers screamed about how people shouldn’t get the vaccine, spreading harmful misinformation completely ignoring the science. Whatever nonsense anti-vaxxers might post after this story, trust that I’ll be laughing at you the entire time, but also crying because your anti-science views are destroying our community’s health.

While there are rare legitimate medical reasons for some people to not get the vaccine, the anti-vax crowd is awfully selective about which science it likes to believe. They’re OK with being vaccinated against polio and measles, but not Covid-19. They’re OK with using the marvels of modern technology — we have far more computing power in our phones than the spaceships that first went to the moon — to post on Facebook, but not use technology to keep themselves alive. 

I have little patience for anyone who refuses to be vaccinated without a legitimate reason, so I’m all for punishing people’s pocketbooks for eschewing the shot. The vaccine is such an easy, simple way to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community, and I say this as someone who is so deathly afraid of needles I once passed out just watching someone receive a shot. 

If you haven’t already, go get your vaccine (and a booster), or you’ll lose more than a week’s salary at some point.

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