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Packers' Aaron Rodgers Explains Telling Reporters He Was 'Immunized' for COVID-19

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 28, 2022

David Eulitt/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast over the weekend and gave his side of the story for telling NFL reporters in August that he was "immunized" against the COVID-19 virus.

Rodgers, in part, blamed the media for not asking him any follow-up questions (11:34 mark):

"I'd been ready the entire time for this question and had thought about how I wanted to answer it. And I had come to the conclusion I'm gonna say, 'I've been immunized.' And if there's a follow-up, then talk about my process. But, [I] thought there's 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. So then I go the season them thinking, some of them, that I was vaccinated. The only follow-up they asked was basically asking me to rip on my teammates. ...
"But I knew at some point if I contracted COVID or if word got out, because it's the NFL and there's leaks everywhere, it was possible I'd have to answer the questions. And then sure enough, I contract COVID in the beginning of November, end of October. And that's when the s--t storm hit, because now I'm a liar, I'm endangering the community, my teammates, all these people. And the, you know, attempted takedown of me and, you know, my word and my integrity began."

That was a long and roundabout way of saying that Rodgers purposefully misled the media and fans with his "immunized" remarks.

Rodgers told Rogan earlier in the podcast that he had an allergy to one of the ingredients in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations and didn't want to take the Johnson & Johnson after it had been pulled because of the blood-clotting risks it presented.

Instead, Rodgers said researched alternative treatments and settled on receiving a diluted strand of the virus orally, though when Rogan asked him for more details on how the diluted strains were obtained, Rodgers said he didn't know.

Rodgers said he petitioned the NFL for a vaccination waiver given those treatments and was denied, leaving him classified as an unvaccinated player in the league's protocols.

Despite being denied that waiver, however, Rodgers broke COVID-19 protocols last season by appearing in press conferences without a mask. The league's coronavirus protocols required all unvaccinated players to be masked at all times while in team facilities, which is where the news conferences were held.

The NFL also found in its investigation of the Packers that Rodgers and wide receiver Allen Lazard did not always wear a mask while inside team facilities on other occasions and that both attended a team Halloween party, breaking the league's rules about unvaccinated players not gathering in more than groups of three or more.

The NFL ultimately fined the Packers $300,000 and Rodgers $14,650 for the infractions.

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