Aaron Rodgers tests positive for COVID-19

November 5, 2021

The news that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19, is not vaccinated and will miss this weekend’s game against the Chiefs shocked the NFL world on Wednesday, and not only because he said in August that he had already been “immunized.” “Since training camp opened in late July, Rodgers has not been publicly observed following any of the obvious protocols for unvaccinated NFL players, as agreed to this summer by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. The NFL The NFL is currently reviewing the situation with the Packers, according to a league statement Wednesday afternoon.

So what is the problem here? Did Rodgers mislead everyone about his vaccination status? Was he breaking the NFL rules? Were the Packers or the league looking the other way? What follows is our best attempt to separate facts, assumptions, and outright fiction in this evolving story. We lay out what we definitely know about the situation at this point and review the league protocols involved, the potential fines that could be in play, and when Rodgers could return to the field for Green Bay.

What happened?

Rodgers tested positive Wednesday morning for COVID-19, and the Packers confirmed that backup QB Jordan Love will start Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs. That sequence made it clear that Rodgers is not vaccinated.

Why is that?

Unvaccinated players who test positive should be isolated for at least 10 days, even if they are asymptomatic. Vaccinated players, however, can return after a positive test as soon as they produce two negative tests 24 hours apart, provided they are asymptomatic. In other words, Rodgers would at least have a chance to play Sunday if he was vaccinated.

Didn’t Rodgers say he had been vaccinated?

No. In August, a Green Bay reporter asked him if he had been vaccinated against COVID-19. He responded by saying, in part, “Yes, I have been vaccinated.”

There is a difference?

No one thought about it at the time. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) define vaccination as “the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection against a specific disease.” Its definition of immunization is “a process by which a person protects himself against a disease through vaccination.”

So if you want to look back at the words, you could interpret Rodgers’ response to mean that he believed he was protected against COVID-19 without outright saying that he received an approved vaccine.

Why did you think you were protected against COVID-19?

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Rodgers sought an alternative treatment and then petitioned the NFL to recognize him as vaccinated. The NFL refused, citing the plain language of the NFL-NFLPA deal reached this summer.

What did that agreement say about vaccination?

It offered multiple pathways to a “fully vaccinated” state. These include:

  • 14 days after a regimen of two injections of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine

  • 14 days after a single injection regimen of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

  • An injection of any vaccine if the player also tested positive after August 26, has a total antibody level of 100 U / mL or more and a positive antibody test for the nucleocapsid protein COVID IgG.

In the absence of one of the results, Rodgers was required to follow the protocols for any other unvaccinated players.

What are those protocols?

Many of them are listed here. They include daily testing and heavy mask wear, and are generally nearly identical to the rules that players and coaches followed during the 2020 season, before vaccines were available.

Are those the only rules that unvaccinated players must follow?

No. An unvaccinated player, for example, cannot gather in a group of more than three players, coaches, and other members of the soccer operations staff.

Didn’t Rodgers attend a Halloween party dressed as John Wick?

Rodgers definitely dressed up as John Wick. A video of him dancing came to light on the Instagram story of her teammate Marcedes Lewis. From that video, at least, it couldn’t be determined whether the other people were teammates.

Don’t the protocols also say that unvaccinated players must wear masks at all times when they are inside the team facilities or in the stadium on game days?

They do, and Rodgers hasn’t worn one during indoor press conferences with reporters at Lambeau Field, where the Packers practice and play. In some cases, the Packers have conducted interviews with unvaccinated players about Zoom, but Rodgers’ have all been in person.

Rodgers hasn’t been wearing a mask on the bench during games. Wasn’t he supposed to?

The NFL-NFLPA rules were amended this summer. Masks are required for unvaccinated players in games only if they are inactive, which means they are not in uniform and ineligible to play. Active players are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks unless required by state or local guidelines, in accordance with current protocols. None of the four teams the Packers have played with on the road thus far have required active players to wear facemasks on the sidelines.

Did that include the preseason?

A reasonable reading of the protocols would suggest that yes, preseason should be included. And Rodgers did not wear the uniform in any of the Packers’ three preseason games. But there are no limits on the game day roster for preseason games, so from a technical standpoint, there are no “idle” players. For this reason, a source said, the league would not consider an unvaccinated player not in uniform for a preseason game to be in violation of its protocols if he were not masked.



Stephen A. Smith, Keyshawn Johnson and Kimberley Martin react when Aaron Rodgers tests positive for COVID-19.

Did the NFL discipline him for any of this?

So far, the league has not answered questions about it. The NFL has the ability to fine players at least $ 14,650 on the first offense for violating COVID-19 protocols, with a maximum of $ 50,000.

Does Rodgers get paid while he’s in isolation?

Yes. The only reason a game check can be lost is if an unvaccinated player causes an outbreak that leads to a loss. In that case, no player from either team would be paid.

Well, it sure looks like Rodgers violated multiple COVID-19 protocols.

We will know very soon. Ultimately, the Packers could face more guilt. The NFL released a statement late Wednesday afternoon noting that “the primary responsibility” for enforcing COVID-19 protocols rests with the team, not the league. He promised to “review the matter” and noted that the teams have been sanctioned in the past for protocol violations. Teams fined included the New Orleans Saints ($ 500,000), Las Vegas Raiders ($ 500,000), Tennessee Titans ($ 350,000), New England Patriots ($ 350,000) and Baltimore Ravens ($ 250,000). The Saints were also stripped of a seventh-round draft pick and the Raiders lost a sixth round.

How worried should Rodgers and the Packers be?

The most important thing to worry about is Rodgers’ health in both the short and long term. The best case scenario is that he will rejoin the team the day before the Packers’ game on Nov. 14 against the Seahawks. Therefore, it is not ruled out that you miss two games, and that is assuming you test negative and are asymptomatic at the 10-day mark.

Chatter all day Wednesday focused on the surprise of Rodgers’ unvaccinated status, but the health of everyone involved should be top priority.