GREEN BAY, Wisc. — In his first public interview since testing positive for COVID-19, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers explained his decision not to get vaccinated and added that he's taking the unapproved drug Ivermectin for treatment.
Rodgers will miss Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Because he is unvaccinated, he is ineligible to return to team activities until Nov. 13, meaning his status for his team's game against the Seattle Seahawks is also in doubt.
"Big thanks to everybody who reached out to me, checked on me the last couple of days. Felt really good. Heard from some of the teammates, former teammates, coaches, organizations, friends," Rodgers said during his interview on the Pat McAfee Show Friday. "I realize I'm in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now. So before the final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I'd let to set the record straight on some of the blatant lies that have been out there about myself."
Rodgers confirmed that he is not vaccinated, despite telling reporters in August that he is "immunized" when asked if he had gotten his shots.
"I'm not an anti-vaxx, flat-earther.. I have an allergy to an ingredient that's in the mRNA vaccines. I found a long term immunization protocol to protect myself & I'm very proud of the research that went into that" ~@AaronRodgers12#PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/FDMmI5rZmO— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 5, 2021
"First of all, I didn't lie in the initial press conference," Rodgers said. "During that time, it was a very — witch hunt was going on across the league. where everyone in the media so was concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn't."
"At the time, my plan was to say, 'I've been immunized,'" he said. "It wasn't some sort of ruse or lie, it was the truth."
NFL Network reports that Rodgers received homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor in order to raise his antibody levels. Rodgers asked the NFL for an exemption from the vaccine due to those treatments, but the league declined to make an exception.
Below is a summary of the rest of Rodgers' interview.
- Rodgers said he has allergies to an ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, so he could not get those shots. That meant his only option was the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but he was concerned about the clotting issues that caused the CDC to temporarily suspend its use earlier this year. The CDC has since allowed J&J shots to continue and said that the clotting issue was most commonly found in women.
- Rodgers also said he was concerned about the vaccine's effect on his fertility. The CDC says there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause changes to a man's sperm characteristics or cause infertility.
- He said the NFL and Packers knew he was unvaccinated.
- He made the claim that NFL's COVID-19 rules are not based on science, which directly contradicts claims made by the NFLPA. He says he's tested every day as an unvaccinated player and says vaccinated teammates are not tested as frequently.
- He said he wears a mask when he works out and works out away from his teammates. He added that he followed every protocol except being unmasked during news conferences. He said he did not follow that rule because everyone else in the room is required to be vaccinated and masked.
- He said he had symptoms on Tuesday but is now feeling better.
- He said that Ivermectin and other alternative treatments were recommended to him by podcast host Joe Rogan.
- He said he's the second unvaccinated player to test positive on the team. He said many others who are vaccinated have tested positive in the facility, perhaps referring to team staff.
The NFL says it has launched an investigation into the Green Bay Packers on their handling of the situation.
According to the NFL's COVID-19 policy, all players and staff who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 must wear masks at all times when inside a club's facility.
Unvaccinated Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 people — including players — are prohibited from gathering in groups of more than three outside of the club facilities or when traveling.
Only fully vaccinated members of Tier 1 and Tier 2 staff members may travel with the team.
Rodgers has been seen at several press conferences without a mask. Rules also say he shouldn't be traveling with the team, yet the Packers tweeted out photos of him traveling with the team to Arizona last week.
Rodgers was also seen in photos and videos at a Halloween party with other players last weekend, which is also prohibited.
The NFL says each team is individually responsible for enforcing COVID-19 protocols.
"The primary responsibility for enforcement of the Covid Protocols within Club facilities rests with each Club. Failure to properly enforce the protocols has resulted in discipline being assessed against individual Clubs in the past," the league said in a statement earlier this week. "The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will be reviewing with the Packers."
This story was originally published by Scripps station TMJ4 in Milwaukee.