Cubs' Kris Bryant says coronavirus testing delays a safety issue
Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant has issues with MLB's coronavirus testing protocols, saying his team gets tested too infrequently.
"I don't want to be insensitive to people who haven't been able to get tests, but as the country gets access to more of those, it's appropriate to talk about our situation here," Bryant said Monday afternoon from Wrigley Field. "What we agreed to was testing every other day, and we've had guys who showed up on Sunday [June 28] and hadn't got tested again [until] seven days later. And you don't get the results until two days later. That's nine days without knowing.
"If we want this to succeed, we have to figure this out. I wanted to play this year because I thought it would be safe. Honestly, I don't really feel that."
MLB addressed the testing delays in a statement Monday, saying that the results for 98% of the samples taken from June 27 to July 3 have been reported as of Sunday night.
Eighty-six samples out of 3,740 remain pending as of Monday morning.
"Our plan required extensive delivery and shipping services, including proactive special accommodations to account for the holiday weekend," the statement read. "The vast majority of those deliveries occurred without incident and allowed the protocols to function as planned.
"Unfortunately, several situations included unforeseen delays. We have addressed the delays caused by the holiday weekend and do not expect a recurrence."
Bryant's fears echo those of many around the league as teams have canceled or delayed workouts while the league sorts out testing issues. Cubs' manager David Ross took matters into his own hands.
"I voiced my opinion to MLB, and they assured me they are working as diligently as they can," Ross stated. "They assured me they are cleaning things up.
"When my players are asking to be tested more, a red flag goes off in my head."
Bryant's wife, Jessica, had a baby during the shutdown, and he is worried about bringing home the virus but decided against opting out, thinking the protocols would keep him safe -- if they're being followed. He stressed that tougher days are ahead once teams start to travel.
"If we can't really nail the easy part -- which is right now, just our players -- we have a big problem," he said. "I go home every day and I just think, what if I were to get it and bring it home. It would be awful. There's so much that could go wrong."
The Cubs third baseman is set to be a free agent after the 2021 season but perhaps has a different mindset than some in that situation because of having a newborn and dealing with the pandemic. He was asked whether signing a long-term deal was more in the cards now than previously.
"I would say 'yeah,'" Bryant said. "You look at things differently. I feel like I'm a lot more calm. Things that really mattered to me before, don't matter to me as much. ... If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."
Before anything else can happen, the league has to get through a unique season. There are many doubters.
"It's not guaranteed that we're going to play and finish the season," Bryant stated. "Everyone involved kind of knows that. We have to do more and do what we agreed to."
Ross added: "The protocols they have in place are for a reason. They need to get these tests done."