Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers completed something of a quarterback sneak in an August press conference, saying that he was “immunized” against the coronavirus when asked if he was vaccinated. But on Wednesday, NFL Media and ESPN confirmed that the star quarterback leading the surging Packers in his 17th season never received a shot. Instead, they reported that he attempted to dodge the NFL’s vaccination protocol by engaging in homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibodies. Now, Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be out for Sunday’s game against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The league’s COVID protocol requires unvaccinated players who test positive to quarantine for a minimum of ten days, meaning Rodgers also will not be able to practice for the week leading up to the Packers’ game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 14. With practice-squad quarterback Kurt Benkert also testing positive this week, the team currently only has one active quarterback on the roster, Jordan Love.
As NFL Media reports, Rodgers tried to get an exemption from the COVID rules based on his antibody levels after previously testing positive for the virus. The players union and the league ultimately determined that his homeopathic treatment trying to boost his antibody levels did not qualify him for a vaccine exemption. However, unlike other unvaccinated players who have been calling in via Zoom to talk to reporters, Rodgers, the face of the franchise, has been appearing unmasked in-person at postgame press conferences. When asked on Wednesday if the quarterback’s “immunized” comment was misleading, coach Matt LaFleur said, “It’s a great question for Aaron; I’m not going to comment on it.” As of late October, NFL players as a whole were over 94 percent vaccinated.
Rodgers joins a small group of stars from other leagues who have caught heat for refusing to get the shot. San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane is in the middle of a 21-game suspension for submitting a fake vaccine card to the NHL, while Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has become the heel of the NBA for not getting vaccinated. While other high-profile NBA players such as Washington Wizards all-star Bradley Beal are also unvaccinated, Irving is not eligible to play because of New York City’s COVID regulations requiring athletes to be vaccinated or sit out home games; the team decided he won’t play on the road either “until he is eligible to be a full participant.”