Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will miss Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to testing positive for COVID on Wednesday.
And while that should be the story of the day — the Packers have won seven straight games — his COVID-19 vaccination status has become the main topic of conversation.
By the simple fact that Rodgers will miss Sunday’s game, we learned that he is in fact unvaccinated. NFL players that refuse the jab are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine, differing from vaccinated players that can return as soon as they test negative twice in a 24 hour period (they must be asymptomatic).
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 3, 2021
By the Packers announcing that Jordan Love would start against Kansas City because Rodgers would be unable to play, his vaccination status became clear.
And that’s where it gets interesting.
Rodgers — who recently spoke out against Cancel Culture — was asked by a reporter in August whether or not he was vaccinated.
“Yeah, I’ve been immunized,” Rodgers replied.
“You know, there’s a lot of conversation around it, around the league, and a lot of guys who have made statements and not made statements, owners who have made statements,” Rodgers said at the time. “There’s guys on the team that haven’t been vaccinated. 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.”
According to ESPN, Rodgers “had an alternate treatment prior to the start of training camp” and then asked the NFL to consider him on the same level as a player who has received one shot of the vaccine. The NFL denied that request and has considered Rodgers unvaccinated.
NFL rules require unvaccinated players to wear a mask at all times when at the facility. According to ESPN, Rodgers has worn a mask while around players and coaches. He has not worn a mask, however, while conducting his weekly press conference or after games, which also take place at the Packers facility.
The NFL is reviewing the matter, and the league does have the ability to fine Rodgers for the COVID-19 infractions.
“The primary responsibility for enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols within club facilities rests with each club,” the league said through a spokesman. “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.”
As could be expected, the media has had a field day, hammering Rodgers for not being forthright about his vaccination status.
Former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson criticized the media for “interrogating” NFL players about their status.
“COVID vaccination status never should’ve been public knowledge,” Watson posted to Twitter. “Media shouldn’t have been permitted to interrogate NFL players about themselves or teammates. It only served to pressure players into decisions to avoid scrutiny and allowed the public to assassinate their character.”
COVID vaccination status never should’ve been public knowledge.
Media shouldn’t have been permitted to interrogate NFL players about themselves or teammates. It only served to pressure players into decisions to avoid scrutiny and allowed the public to assassinate their character
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) November 3, 2021
Rodgers’ absence takes away much of the hype surrounding his matchup against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Mahomes said about not facing off against Rodgers on Sunday. “I’ve watched his game for a long time. I feel I play a similar style. You always want to compete against the best. Hopefully he’s healthy and it’s not too bad. I’m sure he’ll come back from it stronger than he was before.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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