Aaron Rodgers became one of the most polarizing NFL stars over the last few months and has been in the national spotlight for the things he’s done on the field and for what he’s said off the field.
Criticism of Rodgers came to a fever pitch earlier in the year when it was revealed he had tested positive for coronavirus and furthermore it was discovered he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19 despite telling the media he was “immunized.”
The reigning NFL MVP, and 2021’s top candidate for the award after a stellar regular season for the Green Bay Packers, opened up about the vaccine saga in a lengthy ESPN profile.
“I had a plan going in for that question to be asked,” Rodgers told ESPN, recalling his strategy going into his media availability. “It was a pseudo witch hunt going on — who was vaccinated, who wasn’t vaccinated. I was in a multi-month conversation that turned into an appeal process with the NFL at that time, and my appeal hinged on that exact statement [immunized]. So what I said was, number one, factually true. I went through a multi-immunization process. And at the end of that, I don’t know what you would call it, I would call it immunized.”
Rodgers would later reveal on “The Pat McAfee Show” he underwent homeopathic treatments during the offseason and claimed it would help him protect himself better against the virus. He said he tried to appeal the NFL’s decision to consider him an unvaccinated person at that point and presented “research” to the league. He also said an NFL doctor told him it was “impossible” for a vaccinated person to get or spread COVID, a claim an NFL spokesman pushed back on in a statement to Pro Football Talk.
Rodgers also created a stir when he told followers to listen to his pal Joe Rogan’s interview with Dr. Robert Malone, the mRNA vaccine platform inventor. Rogan and Malone’s interview had been widely criticized leading to Twitter banning Malone and Spotify being urged to crack down on Rogan’s interviews. YouTube also removed the interview from its platform.
In the profile, Rodgers was asked what he wanted others to take away from the interview.
“When in the course of human history has the side that’s doing the censoring and trying to shut people up and make them show papers and marginalize a part of the community ever been [the correct side]?” the quarterback told the outlet. “We’re censoring dissenting opinions? What are we trying to do? Save people from being able to determine the validity on their own or to listen and to think about things and come to their own conclusion? Freedom of speech is dangerous now if it doesn’t align with the mainstream narrative? That’s, I think first and foremost, what I wanted people to understand, and what people should understand is that there’s censorship in this country going on right now.
“Are they censoring terrorists or pedophiles? Criminals who have Twitter profiles? No, they’re censoring people, and they’re shadow-banning people who have dissenting opinions about vaccines. Why is that? Is that because Pfizer cleared $33 billion last year and Big Pharma has more lobbyists in Washington than senators and representatives combined? Why is the reason? Either way, if you want to be an open-minded person, you should hear both sides, which is why I listen to people like Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Peter McCullough. I have people on the other side as well. I read stuff on the vaccine-hesitancy side, and I read stuff on the vaccines-are-the-greatest-thing-in-the-world side.”
He added that it didn’t “make sense” to him to censor everyone who questions the so-called “mainstream narrative.”
Regardless of his points of view, it’s no question that the outside noise hasn’t affected him on the football field. He has a chance to put Green Bay back into the NFC Championship with a win over the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.
While he only missed the one game due to COVID, he threw for 4,115 yards with 37 touchdown passes and four interceptions. The Packers finished 13-4 and claimed home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
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