Aaron Rodgers has every right to hold whatever thoughts and beliefs he might have about COVID-19 and vaccines. But that freedom ends when his actions have a negative – or potentially negative – health impact on others.
What the unvaccinated don’t seem to get is that this game called life we’re all playing is a team sport, not an individual sport. The National Football League quarterback’s choice to walk around unvaccinated during a pandemic, among people of all ages and medical conditions, isn’t about his “body autonomy.” It’s about how his choice potentially endangers others and represents a public health threat.
Rodgers is certainly free to be an independent thinker, get his medical advice from whomever he likes (Joe Rogan?), be faithful to his principles and sit out the NFL season like the National Basketball Association’s Kyrie Irving has done.
But no, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. Unlike the majority of his Green Bay Packers teammates who got jabbed, he wanted to avoid getting vaccinated, play this NFL season (a season that wouldn’t be possible without the vaccines), pull in his monstrous salary and slide through it all without having to deal with any consequences from his decision.
In his attempt to pull that off, Rodgers decided he’d lie.
When asked in August by a reporter whether he had been vaccinated, Rodgers said, “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.” Then on SiriusXM’s The Pat McAfee Show, he said he wasn’t trying to deceive anyone with that comment.
Well, you don’t need a high-quality BS detector to identify that crap.
We enjoy a lot of great freedoms, but there are limits to those freedoms when it comes to public safety. That’s why we have stoplights on our roads, speed limits on our highways and No Smoking rules in most public places. Your freedom ends when it negatively impacts my health.
Rodgers doesn’t seem to get that. His comments on the McAfee show were all about me, not we. True leaders, strong leaders, aren’t me people; they’re we people.
What made Rodgers’ comments even worse were all the misleading things he told McAfee’s listeners, like falsely claiming “it’s a total lie” to suggest that what we’re dealing with these days is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of more than 600,000 cases of COVID-19 found that unvaccinated people were 4.5 times more likely to get infected, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die than their vaccinated counterparts.
Rodgers said he was concerned about the safety of vaccines. Yet, on the McAfee show, he touted ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasites and scabies and lacking approval as a COVID treatment.
“Unfortunately, the few high-quality studies that have been done to date do not demonstrate a beneficial effect of ivermectin when it is used in people with COVID-19,” according to Denise McCulloch, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.
By the way, Rodgers left his Green Bay teammates out to dry in a game against Kansas City last Sunday. While his decision to not get vaccinated resulted in him sitting on his couch at home, his teammates were left to face Kansas City on the road with a rookie QB at the helm. The Rodgers-less Packers put up all of seven points in the 13-7 loss to Kansas City.
Maybe the worst part of this whole situation is that instead of looking in the mirror and accepting responsibility for his choices and actions, Rodgers chose to attack his critics. He told McAfee he wanted to publicly state his reasons for not getting vaccinated before the “final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket.”
Hey Aaron, it’s not cancel culture; it’s called accountability. As a famous role model, if you spew dangerous misinformation, you will be held accountable for it.
In a final “woe is me” statement, Rodgers said the “woke mob” is out to get him.
No, Aaron, the woke mob didn’t get you in this case; you got yourself.
Oh, by the way, good luck looking your Green Bay teammates in the eyes after your actions might have cost them a playoff berth or high playoff seed.
Ken Reed is sports policy director for League of Fans (leagueoffans.org), a sports reform project. He is the author of The Sports Reformers, Ego vs. Soul in Sports, and How We Can Save Sports. For interview requests, click here.
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