Aaron Rodgers defends his anti-vaccine rant as NFL’s soft punishment compared to Kaepernick ban

‘I shared an opinion that’s polarising’

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Wednesday 10 November 2021 07:35
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<p>Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodger at a game against Arizona Cardinals </p>

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodger at a game against Arizona Cardinals

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday said he took "full responsibility" for the comments he made last week about why he didn’t get vaccinated for Covid-19.

He also acknowledged that he misled some people about his status before testing positive. "I shared an opinion that’s polarising. I get it," Mr Rodgers told The Pat McAfee Show.

"...I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility of, 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," he added.

The 37-year-old tested positive for coronavirus last week and missed the Packers’ game on Sunday as he remains quarantined in his Green Bay home.

Later on Tuesday, the National Football League (NFL) fined the Packers $300,000 and issued $14,650 fines to Rodgers and wide receiver Allen Lazard for violating the league's Covid-19 protocol.

The NFL stated that the players had attended a Halloween party despite being unvaccinated, a violation of the league's protocol which prohibits unvaccinated players from gathering outside team facilities in a group of more than three players.

The league officials warned the Packers that future violations could lead to more disciplinary measures including loss of picks.

Mr Rogers in a 26 August news conference alleged that he was immunised, however last Friday during an interview on McAfee's, Rodgers confirmed he is unvaccinated against Covid-19.

He said he sought alternative treatments rather than the NFL-endorsed vaccinations because he is allergic to an ingredient.

The player claimed that he was disappointed with the media's treatment of him over his vaccination status. He blamed the media for quoting him saying he was "immunised."

The athlete said if reporters asked him a follow-up question, he would have explained that he is "not an anti-vax flat earther but a critical thinker." He was referring to conspiracy theorists who imagine the Earth’s shape as a plane or a disk.

Meanwhile, the NFL was accused of going easy on Mr Rogers, while Colin Kaepernick, who stood up for racial injustice in 2017 was never given another chance.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a column titled "Aaron Rodgers Didn't Just Lie" compared both the situations.

He wrote: "I can’t help but think of Colin Kaepernick, who was blacklisted by the NFL for passively expressing his frustration with systemic racism – a brave act meant to help his community and save lives – while multi-millionaire Rodgers will continue to play, despite lying to the fans and his teammates and putting innocent lives in danger."

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