Packers QB Aaron Rodgers confirms unvaccinated status after positive COVID test
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers made his first public comments on Friday since testing positive for COVID-19, confirming that he is unvaccinated and addressing the backlash he has received.
Driving the news: The 2020 NFL MVP, who will miss Sunday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, had previously told reporters that he was "immunized" against the virus.
- "Yeah, I've been immunized," Rodgers said in August when asked if he had been vaccinated. "There's guys on the team that haven't been vaccinated. I think it's a personal decision. I'm not going to judge those guys."
- On Friday, he maintained that he "didn't lie in the initial press conference."
Background: The NFL has been encouraging players and coaches to get vaccinated since before the season started.
- The league's COVID-19 protocols require unvaccinated players to follow stricter rules than vaccinated teammates, and players could be fined more than $14,000 per violation.
- Support staff, including coaches and trainers, should be vaccinated against COVID-19 "unless they have a bona fide medical or religious ground for not doing so."
- Rodgers is just one of about 5% of the league’s players considered unvaccinated, according to the AP.
What they're saying: Rodgers clarified his past statements on the "Pat McAfee Show" and said that his teammates had been aware of his vaccination status.
- "I am somebody who's a critical thinker," Rodgers said. "I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body."
- "I am not a COVID-denier," he added. "I just wanted to make the best choice for my body."
What's next: The earliest Rodgers could return would be Nov. 13 before the Packers' game against the Seattle Seahawks.
- The quarterback, who has been experiencing mild symptoms and must isolate for 10 days, would need to test negative twice 24 hours apart and be symptom-free before he's cleared to return, per The Athletic.