Rodgers complains of ‘witch hunt,’ tries to explain COVID-19 vaccine decision and treatment
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Making his weekly appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers attempted to explain his reasoning for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine and his treatments since testing positive.
It was the first time Rodgers spoke publicly since it was announced he tested positive for COVID-19 and appeared to mislead the public about his vaccination status.
Rodgers responded to a question over the summer about whether he had received the COVID-19 vaccine by saying, “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.”
However, a report from the NFL Network found Rodgers never received the vaccine and was in the same COVID-19 protocol as unvaccinated players after the league rejected his request to be treated as a vaccinated player after going through a different process.
Rodgers claimed Friday that he didn’t lie.
“During that time, it was a very, you know, witch hunt that was going on across the league where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn’t and what that meant and who was being selfish and who would talk about it and what it meant if they said it’s a personal decision,” Rodgers said. “It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie, it was the truth.”
Rodgers said he would have further explained what he meant by saying he was “immunized” if he had been asked by reporters at the time.
“Look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax, flat-earther,” Rodgers told McAfee. “I’m somebody who is a critical thinker. You guys know me, I march to the beat of my own drum. I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed, you know, group of individuals who say you have to do something. Health is not a one-sized-fits-all for everybody.”
Rodgers added that his status was not a secret to anyone involved with the team.
“Everyone on the squad knew I wasn’t vaccinated. Everyone in the organization knew I wasn’t vaccinated. I wasn’t hiding anything from anybody. I was trying to minimize and mitigate this conversation that would go on and on,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were not an option for him because he was allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines, and CDC guidance says people with those types of allergies should not get the mRNA vaccines. He said that left the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the only option, but he was worried about adverse reactions to that shot and the reports of blood clotting issues in mid-April.
At that time, only six cases of blood clots had been reported among the 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson shots distributed to that point. All of the cases were in women.
Rodgers said he then looked into other “options to protect myself and my teammates.”
“I have taken this very seriously,” Rodgers said. “I’m not a COVID denier and bull—- like that. I wanted to make the decision that was best for my body. That’s it. I wear my mask when I go out in public. The only time I haven’t worn my mask is when I’m around all vaccinated people.”
Rodgers defended his practice of not wearing a mask when speaking in-person to members of the media by saying he was being tested for COVID-19 every day, and tested negative before every media session.
“The situation I’m in should be a conversation and not a controversy,” Rodgers said. “I hope that we can take a step back, quit lying, quit with the witchhunt and canceling and realize this is a conversation to be had, not a controversy, and let’s move this forward with some love and connection.”
Rodgers said he consulted with another podcast host, Joe Rogan, on treatment options after getting COVID. Rogan, who has no medical training, has promoted taking the ivermectin — most commonly used as an animal dewormer — as a remedy on his show.
In September, the FDA warned against taking ivermectin, saying they had received multiple reports of people who required medical attention, including some who were hospitalized, after taking it. Ivermectin is currently only approved for humans to treat parasitic worms, head lice, and some skin conditions.
“Animal ivermectin products are very different from those approved for humans. Use of animal ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans is dangerous,” the FDA wrote.
There has been no scientific evidence that ivermectin has shown to be safe and effective in treating COVID-19.
Rodgers told McAfee he has been taking ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, zinc and Vitamin C, saying he would be playing Sunday “if this was the flu.” He said he started to feel symptoms on Tuesday and did not feel well Thursday, but was feeling much better as of Friday morning.
Rodgers repeatedly railed against the NFL’s coronavirus protocols, accusing the league of trying to shame players into getting the vaccine. He maintains his stance is not political, saying instead he determined this was the best course of action for his body.
“The non-vaxxed people, the right or whatever, is going to champion me, the left is going to cancel me. I don’t give a s— about either them, politics is a total sham,” Rodgers said.
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