MLS Player Traded After Refusal to Get COVID Vaccine Results in “Problematic” Travel Issue

Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Quirky story here.

As you know, Canada is on a different timeline than the United States when it comes to COVID-19. There are still a lot of restrictions and rules that are impacting sporting events and cross-border travel and limiting fan capacity in their stadiums and arenas.

It was an issue that affected NHL, it’s affecting the Blue Jays, and it affects Canada’s three MLS teams, too. Interestingly enough, the Montreal team decided to trade a player due to complications from his refusal to get the vaccine.

From Sam Stejskal and The Athletic soccer crew:

CF Montreal traded Erik Hurtado to Columbus Crew SC for $200,000 in general allocation money on Thursday, citing the forward’s unwillingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a factor for the trade.

“There was some interest in Erik during the past few weeks and we listened to the offers, even though we were satisfied with Erik’s work,” sporting director Olivier Renard said in a statement. “Because he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19, his situation was problematic and we started considering a trade when we got the confirmation that the team could return to Montreal.

“Before proceeding, Erik also confirmed that he was not comfortable taking the vaccine, so we concluded this deal, which we felt was very satisfactory.”

I’m not gonna get into a pro-vax/anti-vax thing “in this space,” as they say, but the bottom line is that Hurtado’s refusal to get the vaccine creates travel issues. It really screws up the ability to cross the border and then return. So Montreal essentially said, “alright we’ll just solve the problem by trading the guy instead.”