Aaron Rodgers defends 'immunisation' comments
NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers has explained why he is not vaccinated against coronavirus.
Aaron Rodgers has sought to explain why he said he was "immunised" ahead of the 2021 NFL season despite not receiving a coronavirus vaccine.
Rodgers will miss the 7-1 Green Bay Packers' game against the Kansas City Chiefs after contracting covid-19.
Had the quarterback been vaccinated, as his preseason comments appeared to suggest, he would have been in line for a swift return had he later received negative test results or been asymptomatic for 48 hours.
Reports revealed Rodgers had petitioned for an alternative treatment to the vaccine to be taken into account, but he was rejected by the NFL.
Lay-off for Rodgers
With no further comment from Rodgers beyond his claim to being "immunised", the news of his 10-day lay-off this week came as a surprise.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur was asked whether he thought the player had been intentionally misleading and responded: "That's a great question for Aaron – I'm not going to comment on it."
Rodgers had the opportunity to address the issue on Friday when he spoke at length on The Pat McAfee Show.
"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 think I'd like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself right now," Rodgers said.
"I didn't lie in the initial press conference. During that time, it was a witch hunt going on across the league, where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn't.
"At the time, my plan was to say that I have been immunised. It wasn't some sort of ruse or lie. It was the truth. Had there been a follow-up to my statement that I'd been immunised, I would have responded.
"I would have said: Look, I'm not some sort of anti-vax flat-earther, I'm somebody who is a critical thinker, I march to the beat of my own drum.
"I'm somebody who believes in body autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something. Health is not a one-size-fits-all for everybody.
"For me, it involved a lot of study in the offseason. Much like the study I put into hosting Jeopardy! or the weekly study I put into playing the game, I put a lot of time, energy and research and met a lot of different people in the medical field to get the most information about the vaccines before making a decision."
Rodgers allergic to vaccines
Rodgers explained he was allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines and said he was aware of "multiple people" who had "adverse events" after getting the Johnson & Johnson shot.
"My medical team advised me that the risk of an adverse event was greater than the risk of getting covid," he said.
Rodgers added: "The next great chapter in my life, I believe, is being a father. To my knowledge, there has been zero long-term knowledge around sterility or fertility around the vaccines."
Instead, Rodgers found "an immunisation protocol" – the details of which he would not release – that would "best protect myself and my team-mates".
Subject to "draconian measures"
"Everyone on the squad knew I was not vaccinated, everyone in the organisation knew I wasn't vaccinated," he said. "I was not hiding it from anybody."
As an unvaccinated player, Rodgers claimed he was subject to "draconian measures" in a "shame-based environment to try to get as many people vaccinated as possible so the league looks better to the rest of the world".
After an eventful week for Green Bay, the focus on Sunday switches back to the field, where the Packers will be without the league's MVP against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
"It's going to be very strange to watch the game without being there," Rodgers said.