Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers railed against “cancel culture” and the “woke mob,” as part of a rant during a radio appearance on Friday, after news that the reigning league MVP had tested positive for Covid earlier this week and wasn’t vaccinated, despite previously saying he had been “immunised”.
“I realise I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now, so before the final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I’d like to set the record straight on some of the blatant lies that are out there about me now,” Rodgers said on Friday during an appearance on the Pat McAfee show.
Rodgers, whose positive Covid test means he’ll sit out the Packers’s Sunday game against the Kansas City Chiefs, said he avoided getting the vaccines not because he’s a “anti-vax flat earther,” but rather a “critical thinker.”
After conducting his own research, the quarterback said he became concerned about the side effects of the vaccine and an allergy to the ingredients in the Moderna and Pfizer Covid treatments, so he underwent an unnamed alternative treatment at home with “medical professionals”.
Defending his decision, Rodgers invoked the famous abortion slogan “my body, my choice,” as well as the words of civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The great MLK said, ‘You have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense,’” Rodgers said, paraphrasing Dr King.
The NFL star also said he’d spoken with alternative podcast host Joe Rogan for advice and has taken both monoclonal antibodies and ivermectin, a treatment for parasitic worms, headlice, and skin conditions such as rosacea, that is not approved for use against Covid-19.
Rodgers went on to bizarrely claim that the left was anti-vaccine during the Trump presidency, but then flipped after Joe Biden’s election.
“I’m a non-vaxxed person, so the right is gonna champion me, and the left is gonna cancel me, but the whole time, I don’t give a s*** about either of them ... the only desire I have is to empower people out there to take autonomy over their body,” he said.
“Why do people hate Ivermectin? Not just because Trump championed it, but because it’s a cheap generic, and you can’t make any money off of it,” Rodgers said.
He also claimed that there being a pandemic of the unvaccinated is “just a total lie”, despite all the case data supporting it and massive differences in hospitalisation and death rates.
“If the vaccine is so great, then how come people are still getting Covid and spreading Covid?” he said, returning to the point later, saying that is how he believes he contracted the virus, also saying he is masked except when around all-vaccinated people.
Rodgers said he felt his first symptoms on Tuesday night and then tested positive on Wednesday, adding that he “didn’t feel great yesterday, but I’m feeling really good today, Friday”.
He later said: “I feel really good, and if this were the flu, there’s no reason I wouldn’t play on Sunday.”
On the aftermath of his current illness, he said: “There’s a lot to natural immunity, and natural immunity has not been part of the conversation”, adding: “If you’ve gotten Covid, and recovered from it, that’s the best boost to immunity that we can have.”
Studies have shown that immunity from Covid does persist for several months after recovery, but it is unclear for how long. The advice from health officials is still to get vaccinated to ensure longer-term immunity and protection against variants of the virus.
Rodgers was asked on 26 August if he was vaccinated, and responded by telling reporters that he had been “immunised”.
On 3 November when news broke of his positive test for Covid-19, Matt LaFleur, head coach of the Packers when asked about Rodgers said he would not comment on the vaccination status of any of the players or coaches.
When asked if Rodgers saying he was “immunised” was misleading to fans, Mr LaFleur replied: “That’s a great question for Aaron. I’m not gonna comment on it.”
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