Aaron Rodgers “audible” about COVID-19 vaccine not the right call – The Denver Post
There are some potentially serious issues with the “unvaccinated-Aaron Rodgers-has-COVID-19” story, so let’s get the funny stuff out of the way first.
In August, when reporters asked the Green Bay Packers quarterback if he had been vaccinated, he replied, “Yes, I have been vaccinated.”
Not exactly. Rodgers may have “Celebrity Jeopardy!” won half a dozen years ago, but he is no more a doctor than Julius Erving was. Otherwise he would have known better.
So be charitable and give Rodgers the benefit of the doubt. Assume he truly believed that whatever home remedy for cockamamie a friend came up with would provide him with the same immunity to the virus as the vaccine.
But that’s not what he said. And what he said next certainly made it sound like Rodgers meant by “immunized” that he’d gotten the shot.
“There are guys on the team who haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s a personal decision,” he added. “I’m not going to judge those guys.”
That helps explain why most people were surprised Wednesday by reports that Rodgers tested positive, which can happen to anyone, but even more surprised to learn that he hadn’t been vaccinated. Raise your hand if you were surprised to find that Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur wasn’t one of them.
LaFleur deftly sidestepped a question on Wednesday whether Rodgers’ August “immunization” comment was misleading, saying, “It’s a great question for Aaron. I’m not going to comment on it.”
The third-year coach also declined to confirm Rodgers’ positive test result or his vaccination status, but did acknowledge that his star player was on the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol, which requires 10 days away from the team.
Rodgers will miss Sunday’s game against Kansas City, but the Packers are 7-1 with a 3 1/2 game lead in their division. In addition, Jordan Love, his backup and Green Bay’s first-round draft pick in 2020, will get the chance to get some much-needed spice and if all goes well, Rodgers will be back in time for the week after against Seattle. So what’s the problem?
That may depend on what the Packers know and when they knew it.
According to NFL Media, Rodgers filed for an exemption from the COVID-19 protocol sometime this summer based on his antibody levels, and it was denied after an infectious disease specialist appointed by the league and the players’ union found no evidence of protection against the virus. . So technically he was not vaccinated and thus subject to some strict restrictions.
Those range from daily tests to wearing masks to a possible five-day quarantine just to cross paths with someone testing positive and walking around Rodgers, like anyone who even checks sports and entertainment websites every now and then.
Last week, two of his receivers—All-Pro Davante Adams and Allen Lazard—and Packers defense coordinator Joe Barry were on protocol and missed out on the Arizona win. On Tuesday, third-string quarterback Kurt Benkert went on the COVID-19 reserve list. A day later, cornerback Isaac Yiadom joined Rodgers on the stay-at-home-from-work list for Week 9.
“I watch what these guys do,” LaFleur said, insisting that the club followed the league’s guidelines. “I can only talk to our football room, but yes, absolutely. We have cameras everywhere. I think our guys are doing a great job with them.”
Could be. But not long after LaFleur finished talking, NFL officials said they planned to look for themselves. League rules allow vaccinated players who test positive to return after two negative tests at least 24 hours apart; unvaccinated players who test positive must isolate for at least 10 days.
“The primary responsibility for enforcing COVID protocols within club facilities rests with each club,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “Failure to properly enforce protocols has led to disciplinary action being taken against individual clubs in the past. The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will discuss it with the Packers.”
The major sports in general, and the NFL in particular, have managed the pandemic very well, largely by setting strict guidelines and refusing to wink or nod when someone refuses to follow the rules. That’s why Kyrie Irving watches Brooklyn Nets games from his couch instead of on a basketball court, and why, after just 11 games in charge, Nick Rolovich became the ex-head coach of Washington State less than a month ago. .
Neither had been vaccinated, but neither did they claim to be “immunized.” Whether that is a distinction without difference remains to be seen.