GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers said he did not lie when discussing his vaccination status, followed almost all protocols for unvaccinated players and explained his reasoning for not receiving one of the traditional COVID-19 vaccines before this season.
Rodgers tested positive for COVID on Wednesday, the NFL considers him unvaccinated and is in a minimum 10-day quarantine that will keep him out of the Green Bay Packers game Sunday at the Kansas City Chiefs.
In a 46 minute appearance on The Pat McAfee ShowRodgers said he is allergic to an ingredient in two of the three approved vaccines, those produced by Moderna and Pfizer, known as mRNA vaccines. He confirmed that he underwent a treatment designed to boost his immunity and appealed to the NFL to be considered vaccinated, but he lost that appeal.
“I strongly believe in bodily autonomy and the ability to make decisions for your body, not having to accept an awakened culture or a crazed group of people who say something needs to be done,” Rodgers said during a lengthy rebuttal to what he suggested. Misinformation was reported in recent days. “Health is not unique to everyone and for me it involved a lot of study in the offseason.”
When asked in August if he was vaccinated, Rodgers said, “Yes, I have been vaccinated.”
“First of all, I didn’t lie at the opening press conference,” Rodgers said Friday. “During that time, it was a witch hunt that took place across the league, where everyone in the media was very concerned about who was vaccinated and who was not and what that meant and who was being selfish and who would talk about it, which meant if they said it was a personal decision and that they shouldn’t have to disclose their own medical information.
“And at the time, my plan was to say that I had been immunized. It was not some kind of ruse or lie. It was the truth, and I will go into full immunization in a second. But if there had been a continuation of my claim that I have been immunized, he would have responded with this: he would have said: ‘Look, I’m not some kind of anti-vaccine, a flat earth. I’m someone who is a critical thinker.’ “
Rodgers, 37, said that due to his allergy, the only option for one of the approved vaccines was the Johnson & Johnson injection, which he said he did not feel comfortable taking due to reports of side effects.
He did not reveal the exact treatment plan he underwent before appealing to the NFL to qualify him as vaccinated, but said he is taking ivermectin, zinc and monoclonal treatments.
“You know, my desire to get immunized was the best thing for my body, and that’s why it’s so important to me,” Rodgers said. “My medical team warned me that the danger of an adverse event [to a vaccine] it was greater than the risk of contracting COVID and recovering. So I made a decision that it was best for my body. “
Rodgers said he had COVID symptoms on Tuesday and tested positive the next day. He didn’t feel well on Thursday, but said he was feeling much better on Friday.
“I have taken this very seriously. I am not a COVID denier … I just wanted to make the decision that was best for my body. That’s it.”
The Packers and the NFL have been aware of Rodgers’ status since shortly after he reported to training camp in July. He said he believed he would win the appeal until, according to him, one of the doctors involved in his appeal said: “It is impossible for a vaccinated person to contract COVID or spread COVID.”
However, a league source said that no league doctors or jointly agreed infectious disease consultants ever contacted Rodgers. The NFL received an inquiry in mid-August from the Packers’ medical staff on behalf of a player seeking to be considered fully vaccinated after undergoing alternative treatment, a source said. The name of the player seeking the exemption was never provided, so it is anonymous. The NFL Players Association was told that the league doctor would be available for further discussion with the player, but the doctor was never contacted, sources said.
“At that point, I knew that I was definitely not going to win the appeal, and very shortly afterwards it was denied,” Rodgers said. “And we now know that the information they gave me is totally false.”
Rodgers also said the NFL sent someone to talk to the Packers about vaccines because at the time they were ranked 19th out of 32 teams in vaccination rates.
“They sent a puppet at the beginning of training camp to tell us we were 19th in the league in vaccination percentage,” Rodgers said. “I challenged some of the things I was saying and afterwards, many coaches and players thanked me.”
League officials during training camp went from team to team to make sure they knew the protocols and established what was agreed to by the league and the NFL Players Association. The person never identified himself as a doctor.
Packers star wide receiver Davante Adams, who was removed from the reserve / COVID-19 roster on Thursday, said he is not passing judgment on his quarterback.
“[He’s] a grown man. Everybody can, you know, is bigger than the football man, “Adams said.” It’s people’s lives that they have to figure out what they’re comfortable with. There is religion and all kinds of different things that come into play. So it’s best to save any questions for Aaron and his immunization status for when I talk to you. “
Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur said Friday that he had not heard Rodgers’ interview and did not plan to listen to it, but said he does not believe the comments are a distraction.
“I think our dressing room is totally focused on the task at hand. I think it has always been that way,” LaFleur said. “I think they do a great job of worrying about playing football and then going out and doing our best.”
Rodgers detailed the protocols he has followed as an unvaccinated player, including daily testing and wearing masks at the team’s facility. He was not asked about his lifestyle outside of Lambeau Field, where he has been photographed with various teammates. The protocols say that unvaccinated players cannot meet outside the venue with more than three teammates or coaches.
However, Rodgers acknowledged that he doesn’t think he should wear a mask during press conferences. That he has not done so is a violation of the protocols. He said he believes it is unnecessary for an unvaccinated gamer who is tested for COVID-19 daily to wear a mask in a room full of reporters who have been vaccinated and masked.
“I’ve followed all the protocols down to a T, except the one I just mentioned, which doesn’t make any sense to me,” Rodgers said.
The NFL has said it was reviewing whether the protocols were followed.
“I’ve taken this very seriously,” Rodgers said. “I’m not a COVID denier or any bull like that. I just wanted to make the decision that was best for my body. That’s it. I wear my mask when I go out in public. The only time I don’t have I don’t wear my mask when I’m around fully vaccinated people. My response to those people would be like, ‘Hey, just so you know, this morning I got a negative result, No. 1 and No. 2, you got vaccinated against something that you would be concerned that I had, that I just told him I’m negative. ‘To me, I can’t make more sense than that. If I’m in public, I wear a mask. If not, if I’m at home, I’m not wearing a mask. “
Rodgers is a spokesperson for Prevea Health, a local healthcare group. When asked if Rodgers would continue in that role, Prevea released a statement: “Our focus at this time remains steadfast on the health and safety of our patients, providers, staff, and communities, as well as our efforts to assist and encourage all eligible. Get vaccinated against COVID-19 for the health and safety of all. “
The first thing Rodgers could return to the Packers is Nov. 13, the day before his game against the Seattle Seahawks. Jordan Love, the Packers’ 2020 first-round pick, will start Sunday against the Chiefs.