Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday he stands behind comments made last week about why he was not vaccinated for COVID-19, but asked some people about his condition before testing positive. I admitted to being misled.
Rodgers spoke on “The Pat McAfee Show” on YouTube and SiriusXM, four days after discussing his reasons for avoiding the vaccine at the same outlet. Rodgers, who tested positive on Wednesday, was unavailable to play in the Packers’ 13-7 loss to Kansas City on Sunday and remains quarantined at his Green Bay home.
“I shared an opinion that is polarizing,” Rodgers said. “I get it. And I misled some people about my status, those comments, which I take full responsibility for. But in the end, I have to live up to who I am and what I am about. I I stand behind whatever he said.”
Later on Tuesday, the NFL fined the Packers $300,000 and issued a $14,650 fine to Rodgers and wide receiver Alan Lazard for breaches of league and players’ union protocol. ESPN was the first to report the fine.
When asked about his vaccination status at an August 26 news conference, Rodgers replied, “Yeah, I’m immunized.”
Rodgers said Friday that he sought an alternative treatment instead of an NFL-approved vaccination because he is allergic to an ingredient in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. He did not specify the ingredients.
The three-time NFL MVP said he did not want the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after hearing from several people who had adverse reactions. Rodgers also said that he was concerned about potential fertility issues from receiving one of these three vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems Vaccination is recommended in men or women and for those who wish to have children.
“I made some comments that people might have thought were misleading,” Rodgers said. “For anyone feeling misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments.”
Rodgers did not specify the comments he was referencing at the time. But about 20 minutes later, he admitted that he had misled some people about his vaccination status.
Authorized COVID-19 vaccines for use in the US have been tested in thousands of people and proven to be both safe and effective in dramatically reducing the risk of serious illness and death. Serious side effects are extremely rare – and any risk is far outweighed by the risks posed by COVID-19.
The NFL determined in its review that Rodgers and Lazard attended a Halloween party without vaccinations. League protocol prohibits non-vaccinated players from gathering outside a club facility in groups of more than three players.
While Rodgers regularly appears at unmasked news conferences, a review of videos from the club facility showed no widespread or systemic mask-wearing violations, aside from a few isolated incidents involving Rodgers and Lazard. The Packers were fined partly because they knew of a breach of protocol at the Halloween party, but did not discipline any players or notify the league.
League officials warned the Packers that future violations could lead to more disciplinary measures, including a possible change in draft status or loss of choice.
On his radio show on Tuesday, Rodgers stressed that he felt the gravity of the pandemic and its impact. Rodgers spoke on Friday about being “in the crosshairs of the waking crowd” and wanted to tell his side of the story “before my final nail is put in my canceled culture coffin.”
“I understand that people are suffering,” Rodgers said. “It has been a really tough time for so many people in the last two years. We all know such persons who have lost their lives personally, people who have lost their business, their livelihood. Their way of living has completely changed. And I sympathize with those things. I also know how the sports cam is such a connector and brings people together in difficult times. I realize that I am a role model for a lot of people.”
After Rodgers made his comments Friday, Wisconsin-based Previa Health said it has ended its nine-year partnership with the veteran quarterback. Prevea Health’s announcement said it was a mutual parting.
State Farm issued a statement on Monday saying it disagrees with some of Rodgers’ statements, but respects his right to express his opinion, a sign that it is severing its relationship with one of its biggest celebrity endorsers. Will maintain State Farm’s statement says it encourages vaccination but noted that Rodgers “has been a great ambassador for our company over the past decade.”
Rodgers said he doesn’t feel the need to address the questions that have followed his remarks about why he didn’t get the vaccine.
“I’m an athlete,” Rodgers said. “I’m not an activist. I’m going to do what I do best, and that’s play ball. I shared my opinion. It wasn’t something that came up unnecessarily. There was a lot of study involved and Do what I felt was in my best interest for my body. Further comments, I’m going to keep to myself and my doctors.”
Rodgers, who turns 38 on December 2, says he is feeling better and believes there is only a small chance he will be available for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Won’t happen. The earliest Rodgers can return to the team on Saturday.
“I feel really good,” he said. “I’m definitely lucky to have found the kind of care that I’ve been able to do. I know it’s special and it’s helped me get better out of it. I also know it’s there for everyone.” It doesn’t happen to anyone. I know it’s a tough time for so many people dealing with COVID. It’s been a tough two years for a lot of people. It’s definitely a time for reflection.”
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