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Report: Latest MLB proposal required players to sign risk waiver during COVID-19 pandemic

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball submitted its latest proposal to the MLB Players’ Association on Monday to outline a plan for the 2020 season. Amid an ongoing dispute over money and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, another aspect of the deal could cause additional problems in negotiations.

MLB wants players to sign COVID-19 risk waiver for 2020 season

As the players union fights to give its side the full portion of prorated salaries, which MLB agreed to in March, it is also seeking to keep players and their families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Players will be the ones out on the field, often in close contact with teammates and coaches, with several among the at-risk group for severe symptoms due to pre-existing medical conditions.

MLB understands that players will test positive for the coronavirus upon their return and during the season, which could also put their family members and teammates at risk. As a result, per USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, MLB required players to sign a risk waiver in the latest proposal.

The MLB Players Association already rejected Monday’s offer, viewing it as another attempt by MLB to put even more of the risk from resuming the season the players.

Players are seeking the full, prorated portion of their 2020 salary based on the number of games played this season. In Monday’s latest counteroffer from the league, MLB teams would be asking players to take less guaranteed salary in exchange for a higher bonus pool from the postseason, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Even if both sides can agree to a financial framework, which seems unlikely at the moment, they must also agree on safety protocols. The MLBPAA outlined numerous changes to the health guidelines they want MLB to accept.

If the league is going to ask players to sign a liability waiver, freeing owners from any potential ramifications if a player or their family member gets very sick or worse, it will create another problem that must be addressed before baseball can return.