Green Bay Packers QB1 Aaron Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19 and will sit out this Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but that’s not the biggest Rodgers story of the day.
Rodgers appears to have — lied, misled, dodged — we’ll go with lied — about his vaccination status in an August press conference. In direct response to a question about whether he’s been vaccinated, Rodgers responded, “yeah, I’ve been immunized.”
He kept it vague and followed up his statement by saying, “I like to learn about everything that I’m doing, and there was a lot of research that even went into that.” Again, assuming, as he implied, that the thing he was learning about was the vaccine that he said he had received.
Certainly, in theory, he could have been “immunized” by a previous infection, but using a word that is widely acknowledged as a synonym for “vaccinated” in direct response to that question honestly didn’t raise any suspicions. Until this morning.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that Rodgers has been “following protocols for unvaccinated players while inside the building” and is, in fact, unvaccinated.
NFL protocols for unvaccinated players include daily COVID tests, indoor mask mandates, severely restricted interaction including no eating meals with teammates, and a ban on leaving the team hotel when traveling. It is unclear as of now whether Rodgers has been following all these protocols — although he has not been wearing a mask during in-person postgame press conferences — but we do know that he attended a Halloween party without a mask this past weekend after videos of him were posted to Twitter and other platforms.
“There’s guys on the team that haven’t been vaccinated and it’s a personal decision,” he said in the August press conference. “It’s an interesting issue that I think we’re going to see played out the entire season.”
ESPN also reported that Rodgers “petitioned the NFL to have an alternate treatment that he underwent before he returned to the Packers that would allow him to be considered the same as someone who received one of the approved vaccinations.” Obviously, they denied that petition, and has been considered an unvaccinated player by the NFL, despite leading the public and the press to believe otherwise.
Backup quarterback Jordan Love, who was somewhat controversially drafted by Green Bay in 2020, will start the game (and finish it, as the Packers’ third string QB also tested positive) against Patrick Mahomes and his struggling Chiefs team in Kansas City this Sunday. This will be Love’s first start with the Packers.