NFL superstar Aaron Rodgers blasted the media’s COVID vaccine “witch hunt” in a Saturday appearance on Joe Rogan‘s podcast and explained why he refused to get the jab during last year’s football season.
Rodgers, who ducked questions about his vaccination status last year by describing himself as “immunized” until he got COVID and was forced to miss a game, said he never lied. The Green Bay Packers quarterback and reigning league MVP, who Rogan introduced as “the coolest motherf***er in the world,” said he had a strategy when the press began grilling NFL stars about whether they were vaccinated.
“They were doing this, I called it a witch hunt, where they were asking every single player ‘are you vaccinated?’” Rodgers told the podcast king. “You know, they were asking a bunch of big quarterbacks and some guys were saying, ‘it’s personal’ or whatever.”
Aaron Rodgers and Joe Rogan teeing off on the covid shot lies is great. Enjoy: pic.twitter.com/T9VVBoXNyP
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 28, 2022
Rodgers said he had rejected the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna over an ingredient he said he is allergic to. He was also leery of the Johnson & Johnson version because it had been linked to blood clots. Rodgers said he had been willing to discuss his beliefs regarding the vaccine, but reporters only wanted a ‘yes or no’ answer.
“I had come to the conclusion that I was going to say, ‘I’ve been immunized,’ and if there was a follow-up, then talk about my process,” he said. “But I thought there was a possibility that, I say I’m immunized, maybe they understand what that means, maybe they don’t, maybe they follow up. They didn’t follow up.”
But when Rodgers contracted the virus in late October, while people still thought the vaccines protected against infection, reporters questioned his prior claims of having been “immunized.” Rogan asked Rodgers what it was like when people began calling him “a plague rat.”
“That’s when the s***storm hit, because now I’m a liar and endangering the community and my teammates, all these people,” Rodgers said. “The attempted takedown of me and, you know, my word and my integrity began.”
Rodgers, known for his free spirit and health consciousness, said he rejected the mRNA vaccines after learning that they contain polyethylene glycol.
“I went on the CDC website and it specifically said ‘if you’re allergic to PEG, we do not recommend getting vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines,’” he told Rogan. “The only other one available was Johnson & Johnson. That had just got pulled at the time for blood clots. So, I looked into other options which included an immunization process through holistic doctor. I researched and talked to probably a dozen different MDs. I found a protocol that I felt like was the best available.”
The NFL did not mandate that players be vaccinated in 2021, although the policy it worked out with the league’s player’s association strongly encouraged it. Unvaccinated players were required to wear masks and be tested daily at team facilities. If any tested positive, they were required to stay away until they had tested negative for five consecutive days. The league has since loosened rules regarding vaccination status.
Rodgers told Rogan that as many as ten of his teammates were unvaccinated last season but said many were “coerced” into getting the jab. The only other publicly known Packer who was unvaccinated during the 2021 season was receiver Allen Lazard. The league fined both Rodgers and Lazard for attending a Halloween party that broke the NFL’s COVID protocol and reportedly led to Rodgers’ infection.
Other high-profile players, including quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Cole Beasley, were outspoken in their refusal to get vaccinated.