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Nationals VP Bob Boone refuses team-mandated COVID-19 vaccine, resigns

Bob Boone, the Cincinnati Reds' manager from 2001 to 2003, joined the Washington Nationals staff in 2005, but resigned this week because he refused to comply with the team's COVID-19 vaccination mandate. File Photo by Will Powers/UPI
Bob Boone, the Cincinnati Reds' manager from 2001 to 2003, joined the Washington Nationals staff in 2005, but resigned this week because he refused to comply with the team's COVID-19 vaccination mandate. File Photo by Will Powers/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Washington Nationals vice president Bob Boone chose to resign rather than comply with the team's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which requires shots for full-time staff, coaches and executives.

Sources told the Washington Post, ESPN and the Washington Examiner that Boone informed the team this week of his resignation.

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Boone, 73, joined the Nationals front office in 2005. He also served as the senior adviser to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. He held previous roles as Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player development.

Boone was an All-Star catcher and spent 19 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, California Angels and Kansas City Royals from 1972 through 1990. He later worked as the manager of the Royals and Cincinnati Reds.

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He is the father of New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone and former All-Star second baseman Bret Boone. His father, Ray Boone, was an All-Star infielder who played from 1948 to 1960.

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The Nationals told employees their vaccination policy Aug. 14. The policy requires non-uniformed team employees to provide proof of full vaccination or a first shot, or a medical exemption, within a two-week window.

Unvaccinated employees are placed on unpaid leave and the team will terminate their contracts if they aren't vaccinated by Sept. 15.

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Sources told the Post that the team had informed eight scouts that their contracts will not be renewed last season, and that two terminations were based on their unwillingness to get vaccinated. Sources told the Examiner that at least two other staff members plan to resign due to the mandate.

"As a company, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep one another safe and felt that mandating vaccines was the absolute right thing to do for our employees and our community," the Nationals said in a statement issued last month.

The Nationals and Houston Astros are the only two known MLB teams to implement vaccine mandates. MLB teams can't mandate that players be vaccinated because of the league's collective bargaining agreement with the players union.

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The Nationals (55-76) host the Philadelphia Phillies (68-64) at 1:05 p.m. EDT Thursday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

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