Breaking his silence. Aaron Rodgers is speaking out after being suspended from playing football due to his positive coronavirus test.
“I’m doing really well,” the 37-year-old athlete said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday, November 5, claiming he “didn’t lie” about his initial vaccination status going into the 2021 NFL season.
In a lengthy diatribe, the Green Bay Packers quarterback explained that early on in the year he said he was “immunized,” which unfortunately led to some fans thinking he was being misleading.
“It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie, it was the truth. Had there been a follow-up to my statement that I’d been immunized, I would have responded with this: I would have said, ‘Look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax-flat-Earther. I’m somebody who’s a critical thinker,’” Rodgers continued. “I march to the beat of my own drum. I believe strongly in bodily autonomy, [in the] ability to make choices for your body, not to have to aquacise to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something.”
The former Jeopardy! host said multiple times that “health is not a one-size-fits all for everybody,” which is why he did a lot of research and studying about the vaccine choices during the off season.
“I have an allergy to an ingredient that’s in the mRNA vaccines. On the CDC’s own website, it says, ‘Should you have an allergy to any of these ingredients, you should not get one of the mRNA vaccines.’ So those two were out already,” he explained of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine choices. “So, my only option was Johnson & Johnson. At this time, in the early spring, I had heard of multiple people who had adverse events around getting [that shot]. [Then] in April, [it] got pulled for clotting issues. So, the J&J shot was not even an option at that point.”
Rodgers noted that he looked into other options to “protect” himself and his teammates, which is when he found an “immunization protocol” that was a long-term solution.
“We felt like what was best for me. It was not something the league didn’t know about,” the NFL MVP explained. “The league was fully aware of it upon my return to the Packers.”
He had to petition the league to get his specific immunization protocol approved, but they said, “No, you’ll be in the unvaccinated category.” Rodgers chose to appeal the ruling and gathered “500 pages of research,” but was still unsuccessful.
As a result, Rodgers has been going through the season as an “unvaccinated person,” according to league standards. He has to wear a yellow wristband “at all times,” which makes it clear that he is unvaccinated and was tested daily per the NFL’s rules.
“I have followed every protocol,” he claimed, noting that he wakes up at 5: 00 a.m. for 12 p.m. games to get tested. The California native must then wait in his car for the results.
He has kept his distance from his team, which is required, including solo travel to games and not staying in a room with any teammates.
“My desire to immunize myself was what was best to my body, which is why this is so important to me,” Rodgers continued. “My medical team advised me that the danger of having an adverse event [to the vaccination] was greater than getting COVID and recovering. I’m not telling somebody to get vaccinated or not get vaccinated.”
He concluded that he’s “not selfish” despite what some people may think. “Personal health decisions should be private,” Rodgers added. “The shaming and the outing … Everyone has their own story. This shamming, cancel society, that is wrong.”
News broke on Wednesday, November 3, that the football player would miss the Green Bay Packers’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs that Saturday after he contracted COVID-19.
“The primary responsibility for enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols within club facilities rests with each club,” a spokesperson for the league noted in a statement on Wednesday. “Failure to properly enforce the protocols has resulted in discipline being assessed against individual clubs in the past. The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will be reviewing the matter with the Packers.”
The former University of California, Berkley player will not be able to return to the field until November 13 following a 10-day quarantine period, in accordance with the NFL’s rules for unvaccinated players. He must not show any symptoms before he plays again.
Earlier this year, Rodgers told reporters during a press conference that he was “immunized,” seemingly dodging a question about his personal vaccination status. At the time, he weighed in on the widespread “conversation around” the issue among other players and team owners.
“There’s guys on the team that haven’t been vaccinated,” he said in August. “I think it’s a personal decision. I’m not going to judge those guys. There are guys that’ve been vaccinated that have contracted COVID. It’s an interesting issue that I think we’re going to see played out the entire season.”
Rodgers’ place on the Packers roster was up in the air after he missed the team’s training camp over the summer. As his relationship with fiancée Shailene Woodley continues to spark interest, the former Super Bowl MVP fired back at claims that he hasn’t been giving the sport his all this season.
“On one hand, it’s absolute horses–t to give a platform to people who have no idea what they’re talking about as far as my mental state and, you know, my focus, my work habits,” he said on The Pat McAfee Show in September. “People that have not been around me, that aren’t in my life. I don’t have communication with them, they’re not in the locker room. I mean, that’s just … it’s chicken s–t.”