Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers confirmed he is unvaccinated against Covid-19 and is disappointed with the treatment he’s been receiving in the media while appearing on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday.
“I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now,” Rodgers said. “So, before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I think I would like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself.”
Rodgers said the media was on a “witch hunt” to find out which players were vaccinated and blamed reporters for him saying he was “immunized” back in August.
While talking with McAfee on his SiriusXM show, the three-time MVP repeated some Covid-19 misconceptions and said he has conferred with podcast host Joe Rogan on how to deal with a coronavirus infection.
The quarterback, who has led Green Bay to a 7-1 record, will not play in the Packers game against the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend due to Covid-19 protocols, the team’s head coach Matt LaFleur announced Wednesday.
The 37-year-old Rodgers said if any reporter would have asked a follow-up question, he would have explained he’s “not an anti-vax flat earther,” but that he’s a “critical thinker.”
Rogers added he has been following the strict NFL protocols for unvaccinated players to a “T.” Rodgers described the daily testing he is subjected to every day, even on off days, and believes the rules are in place to shame unvaccinated people. Rodgers said he has been tested over 300 times before testing positive this week.
Rodgers said he experienced some mild symptoms for roughly 48 hours but currently “feels really good.” He wasn’t certain when he would return to the field or what protocols were in place for him now that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Quarterback took advice from Joe Rogan
Rodgers said he consulted with podcast host Joe Rogan and took his advice on how he treated his own Covid-19.
“I consulted with a now good friend of mine, Joe Rogan, after he got Covid, and I’ve a lot of the stuff he recommended in his podcast and on the phone to me,” Rodgers said.
“I’m going to have the best immunity possible now based on the 2.5-million-person study from Israel that the people that get Covid and recover, have the most robust immunity. I’m thankful for people like Joe stepping up and using his voice. I’m thankful for my medical squad and I’m thankful for all the love and support I’ve gotten but I’ve been taking monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, zinc, vitamin C and DHCQ and I feel pretty incredible.”
Of these, only monoclonal antibodies are approved treatments for Covid-19 but those alone could account for any improvement in his symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted an Israeli study looked at people who had been vaccinated six months before or longer. “Understanding infection-induced and vaccine-induced immunity over time is important, particularly for future studies to consider,” they wrote.
Rodgers said he did not get vaccinated because he has an allergy to an ingredient in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and was scared about the possible side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He said the decision to seek alternative treatments was “what was best for my body.”
Rodgers said the NFL knew he was unvaccinated, and he had multiple conversations with NFL doctors including one where a doctor told him, “it is impossible for a vaccinated person to get Covid or spread Covid.”
When asked about Aaron Rodgers’ claim that a NFL doctor told him “it is impossible for vaccinated person to get Covid or spread Covid,” a league source tells CNN “no doctor from the league or the joint NFL-NFLPA infectious disease consultants communicated with the player.”
Rodgers told McAfee he had previously tried to “petition” the league that his homeopathic treatment of increasing his antibodies should be considered as an alternative to getting fully vaccinated via Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Rodgers continued, “at that point I knew I was definitely not going to win the appeal.”
CNN has asked the NFL about this claim and whether the league has a comment.
There is no evidence that homeopathic treatments can affect a person’s antibodies, experts say.
McAfee, a former NFL player and WWE wrestler turned sports commentator, said on Twitter in August he tested positive for a breakthrough case of Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
Vaccines better than previous infections, CDC says
Rodgers said, “The vaccines do offer some protection for sure but there is a lot we don’t know about them. … There is a lot to natural immunity. … If you have gotten Covid and recovered from it, that’s the best boost to immunity you can have.”
Rodgers is not incorrect in thinking people who have recovered from Covid-19 have some immunity – but it’s not nearly as much immunity as vaccinated people have. A team of researchers led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in October that vaccination protects people against coronavirus infection much better than previous infection does.
Their study found people who had not been vaccinated and who ended up in the hospital were five times more likely to have Covid-19 than people who had been vaccinated within the past three to six months.
“All eligible persons should be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible, including unvaccinated persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers wrote in the CDC’s weekly report, the MMWR.
Rodgers expresses doubts
The Green Bay quarterback paraphrased Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while explaining his stance, “The great MLK said that ‘You have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense.’” Rodgers said certain strict NFL protocols were not based on science, noting if he tested negative for Covid-19 every day and was surrounded by vaccinated people, why should he be “shamed” into wearing a mask throughout the Packers facility.
In August, Rodgers was asked whether he had received the Covid-19 vaccine. Rodgers said he had been “immunized.”
“There’s a lot of conversation around it, around the league, and a lot of guys who have made statements and not made statements,” Rodgers said. “Owners have made statements. There’s guys on the team that haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s personal decision. I’m not going to judge those guys. There’s guys that have been vaccinated and contracted Covid. So it’s an interesting issue.”
Per policy agreed upon by the NFL and players’ union, teams aren’t allowed to comment on a player’s medical status other than referring to roster status. The reserve/Covid-19 list is for players who either test positive for the novel coronavirus or who have been in close contact with someone who is infected.
“Failure to properly enforce the protocols has resulted in discipline being assessed against individual Clubs in the past. The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will be reviewing with the Packers.”
Vaccinated players who test positive and remain asymptomatic are eligible to return after testing negative twice in a 24-hour span. Unvaccinated players are required to quarantine for 10 days and then test negative to return.
CNN’s Steve Almasy and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.