Packers and Aaron Rodgers fined over COVID-19 vaccine

Sports

Back in late August when Packers QB Rodgers was asked about his vaccination status, he said: “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.” (AP Foto/Rick Scuteri)

(NewsNation Now) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared remotely on a popular sports talk show Tuesday to further address criticisms about comments he made on his COVID-19 vaccination status.

“I shared an opinion that’s polarizing,” Rodgers said on SiriusXM’s “Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday. “I made some comments that people may have felt were misleading. I take full responsibility for those comments. But in the end, I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about. I stand behind the things that I said.”

Rodgers was referring to his comments made late August when he was asked about his vaccination status; he said: “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.”

Rodgers, however, did not receive one of the COVID-19 inoculations but instead followed an “immunization protocol,” claiming that he took alternative treatments because he was allergic to ingredients in the mRNA vaccines.

It came as the league fined the Packers $300,000, and fined Rodgers and wide receiver Allen Lazard $14,650 each for violating COVID-19 protocols. Rodgers and Lazard attended a Halloween party, which is against the rules for unvaccinated players. They also did not wear masks in all appropriate places in the team’s facility.

The NFL responded to Rodgers’ petition to accept his immunization status, telling him he would be considered an unvaccinated player.

News of Rodgers testing positive for COVID-19 and being unvaccinated made his word choice controversial, especially since the star quarterback was seen holding mask-free news conferences in club facilities, which is against the rules agreed upon by the NFL and NFL Players Association.

“I had a lot of time to think about things in my silence here,” Rodgers said Tuesday while serving out his mandatory NFL 10-day quarantine at his house in Green Bay. “This has definitely been a time of a lot of reflection.”

Rodgers expressed empathy for the difficult time that so many people have had dealing with COVID, saying, “I understand that people are suffering.”

“I also know how sports can be such a connector and bring people together in times of adversity,” he said. “I do realize I am a role model to a lot of people.”

Rodger first spoke out Friday since testing positive for COVID-19, starting the interview by saying, “I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now, so before my final nail gets put in my cancel-culture casket, I think I’d like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself right now.”

“I don’t really feel like there’s a need to address that,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “I stand by what I said and the reasons why I made the decision.”

“I did what I thought was in my best interest for my body,” Rodgers said. “Further comments, I’m gonna keep between myself and my doctors.”

On Monday, insurance giant State Farm said it is sticking with Rodgers in the wake of his comments, saying in a statement:

“Aaron Rodgers has been a great ambassador for our company for much of the past decade,” a company spokesperson told Nexstar in a statement. “We don’t support some of the statements that he has made, but we respect his right to have his own personal point of view.”

“I think it’s a time to move forward for me and think about football,” he said. “I’m an athlete, I’m not an activist. So I’m gonna get back to doing what I do best and that’s playing ball.”

Rodger’s positive COVID diagnosis forced him to sit out Green Bay’s loss Sunday to Kansas City, 7-13, ending the Packers’ seven-game winning streak.

“I don’t want to miss any more games. It’s hard to watch,” he said.

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