Sunday, January 29, 2023

Column: Rodgers ‘audible’ on vaccine is not the right call

There are some potentially serious problems with the “Unvaccinated-Aaron Rodgers-Has-COVID-19” story, so let’s get the funny business out of the way first.

When reporters asked the Green Bay Packers quarterback in August if he had been vaccinated, he replied, “Yes, I have been immunised.”

off course not. Rodgers called “Celebrity Jeopardy!” Won may have been a half-dozen years ago, but he’s no longer a medical doctor than Julius Irving. Otherwise he would have known better.

So be altruistic and give Rodgers the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say he really believed that whatever cockamami home remedy a friend whipped up, provided the same immunity against the virus as the vaccine.

But he didn’t say so. And what he said next certainly makes it sound that by “immune” Rodgers means he’ll get the jab.

“There are people on the team who haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s a personal decision,” he said. “I’m not going to judge those people.”

That helps explain why most people were surprised by Wednesday’s report that Rodgers tested positive, which could happen to anyone, but it was even more surprising to learn that he hadn’t been vaccinated. Raise your hand if you were surprised to see Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur.

LaFleur cleverly sidestepped a question Wednesday about whether Rodgers’ “vaccination” remarks from August were misleading, saying, “That’s a great question for Aaron. I’m not going to comment on it.” ”

The third-year coach also declined to confirm Rodgers’ positive test result or his vaccination status, but acknowledged that his star player was in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol, which is 10 days away from the team.

Rodgers will miss Sunday’s game against Kansas City, but the Packers lead their division 7-1 with a 3 1/2-game lead. Plus, Jordan Love, his backup and Green Bay’s 2020 first-round draft pick, gets a chance to grab some much-needed seasoning and, if all goes well, Rodgers will be back in time for the week against Seattle. Will go So what’s the big deal?

It may depend on what the packers know and when they know it.

According to NFL media, Rodgers requested an exemption from the COVID-19 protocol sometime this summer based on his antibody levels, and an infectious disease expert appointed by the league and the players’ union with no evidence of protection against the virus. Refused after meeting. Technically, then, they had not been vaccinated and were thus subject to some strict restrictions.

They range from daily testing to mask-wearing to a possible five-day quarantine to cross paths with only anyone testing positive and Rodgers, as anyone who checks sports and entertainment websites. , even knows sometimes, gets around.

Last week, two of their receivers — All-Pro DeVante Adams and Alan Lazard — and Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry were in protocol and missed out on a win over Arizona. On Tuesday, third-string quarterback Kurt Benkert joined the COVID-19 reserve list. A day later, cornerback Isaac Yadom joined Rodgers on a work-from-home list for Week 9.

“I see what these guys do,” Lafleur said, with the club insisting the entire league’s guidelines have been followed. “I can only speak to our football space, but yes, absolutely. We have cameras everywhere. I think our guys do an excellent job with that.”

Perhaps. But shortly after LaFleur’s talk ended, NFL officials said they planned to look for themselves. League rules allow vaccinated players to return after two negative tests spaced at least 24 hours apart; Unaffiliated players who test positive will have to isolate for at least 10 days.

“Each club has the primary responsibility for enforcing the COVID protocol within club facilities,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “Failure to properly implement the protocol has resulted in an assessment of discipline against individual clubs in the past. The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will review it with the Packers.

Big sports in general, and the NFL in particular, have done a great job of managing the pandemic, largely by adopting strict guidelines and refusing to nod or nod whenever someone refuses to play by the rules. . That’s why Kyrie Irving is watching Brooklyn Nets games from his couch instead of on the basketball court, and Nick Rolovich, after just 11 games in charge, became ex-head coach at Washington State less than a month ago.

Neither was vaccinated, but he did not claim to be “immunised.” Whether this is a distinction without distinction remains to be seen.


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