By Chris Schisler
Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing this week for the Green Bay Packers because he tested positive for Covid-19. That’s not the story though. The story is that an unvaccinated player that we collectively assumed was vaccinated, who hasn’t followed rules regarding masks in press conferences and talking to the media, has been facetious about his vaccine status up to this point.
The NFL gave players a choice, the vaccine was never mandated and the players union made sure of it. The good news is that Rodgers, has been considered unvaccinated all year long, so he’s been tested as an unvaccinated player and his quarantine will follow the guidelines. The bad news is that either the NFL and/or the Green Bay Packers decided to look the other way while Rodgers was disregarding rules towards masks.
Aaron Rodgers lacks the respect for others he seeks for himself
The dishonesty is the worst part of this. Rodgers has been interacting with members of his team, his organization and, the media. He misled people intentionally. The Packers quarterback got away with playing by his own rules and he kept going like nothing ever happened. The fact that it took a positive test for all of this to come to light halfway through the season, is the big problem. The coverup is always worse than the crime and this creates a trust problem for the NFL.
Rodgers has demanded respect from the media yet he hasn’t been straightforward with them. He’s been at a higher risk of carrying and spreading Covid-19 and he hasn’t been wearing masks. Forget about being selfish in regards to his team (Which is a whole different issue) he’s asking for respect from the media that he’s not willing to give back on his end. Respect is a two-way street.
Here is a link to the interview Rodgers gave today on the Pat McAfee show:
Here’s just a small segment. For the full interview, you can watch on YouTube (link in thread).pic.twitter.com/6t7ZCkKsHg
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 5, 2021
The one thing that is clear as day is that Aaron Rodgers cares only about Aaron Rodgers. He had a storm of an offseason and now he’s bringing a cloud over an otherwise amazing season for the Packers. Rodgers has done nothing to get the benefit of the doubt.
The NFL can’t ignore this:
The NFL can go about this one of two ways. They can make Rodgers follow the rules going forward and try to move on in the quietest possible way or they can take action. The Green Bay Packers should be fined. Rodgers being suspended for a game or two after his quarantine is unlikely but not necessarily uncalled for.
The NFL has to own up to the fact that a double standard has been created. What the NFL needs to be concerned about is setting a precedent and establishing trust with the media, the teams, and their fans.
The real harm is that Rodgers is spreading misinformation. Rodgers is peddling anti-vaxxer rhetoric and was given a hall pass from these conversations all season. Now he thinks he has the NFL in a corner. The NFL has to show Rodgers that this is not the case. Mina Kimes of ESPN put it better than I’ve heard it from anyone, Here’s the link to that video clip.
Kimes called a spade a spade. Rodgers is pushing information that has been debunked by the medical community. She was right to say that. Rodgers has the potential to do more harm by being a champion of bad ideas. This isn’t a contained problem even if he has to follow the rules going forward.
The Bottom Line:
This isn’t about football at this point. Like Mina Kimes says there is a human element of this and Rodgers doesn’t seem to care. Rodgers asked for an alternative to vaccination. The NFL didn’t bite. The NFL knew about this the whole time. They can’t save face but they can course correct. Hold Rodgers accountable. Hold the Green Bay Packers accountable.
The NFL has to do something. Forget the Packers’ next game against the Chiefs. This has become a much bigger problem than the Packers not having their quarterback for a game or two. This is a bad look for Rodgers and it calls a lot into question at the NFL.