Posted in Ravens Thoughts

The Aaron Rodgers situation: And why the NFL has to do something

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:

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.

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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.

Posted in Hot Take of the Week

Logistically, Lamar Jackson needs to get Covid-19 vaccine

By Chris Schisler

Lamar Jackson tested positive for Covid-19. This is his second positive test, he missed a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers the first time. This is a frustrating problem to deal with for the Baltimore Ravens, a team who also has running back Gus Edwards on a 10-day quarantine for his positive test.

From a football perspective, this is a perfect chance for Tyler Huntley to win the understudy role in Ravens training camp. It does however halt the progress of an offense that is supposed to undergo some changes this year. Then you have the other issue. Vaccination talk and vitriol coming from both sides.

Vaccination is a choice, but the NFL has made stiff consequences for taking your chances. The Covid vaccine doesn’t mean that there can’t be positive tests in the future. This is a valid point, though it’d be foolish for that to be a reason Jackson decides not to get the shot.

The vaccine minimizes the risk of catching the virus. It’s not just about positive and negative tests though. The vaccine is your best chance of avoiding hospitalization. Jackson has caught the virus twice or at least had two tests that have gotten him away from his team.

Like everything goes right now, two sides have formed. There are the people who are angry or frustrated with Jackson for not being vaccinated. Then there are the people who don’t think he should be forced to take the vaccine and that it’s a matter of personal choice.

What Lamar Jackson needs to do when he can:

Jackson is an amazing quarterback and an awesome person. Whatever side of the vaccine debate you are on, changing your opinion about Jackson is unfair. Jackson gives a lot back to the community, and he’s lifted the team and the fanbase with his passion and his energy. One way or the other, Jackson is a person who deserves your respect.

Logistically, Jackson needs to be vaccinated. He’s the quarterback, the leader, and the most valuable player of the Baltimore Ravens. He’s the player the Ravens have built the team around. Every week of the season that Jackson isn’t vaccinated is a week that can get blown up by that liability.

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The start of training camp is the best time for this to happen if this is the last time that it does occur. He’s still missing practice reps. He’s losing his initial chance to build chemistry with Rashod Bateman and get going with a new look passing attack. This isn’t good, there are clear consequences, and yet it’s the best time this can happen in the whole season.

If there is an outbreak due to unvaccinated players during the season the Ravens will forfeit their game. If Jackson tests positive and the game can go on, the Ravens have to play without their MVP quarterback for at least one week. Jackson is the most important player on the entire team and he’s been absent twice for positive Covid tests.

Jackson is the leader of the team a point I’m happy to continually reinforce to make my argument. He’s not just the leader because he’s the quarterback. Jackson is a leader because he’s selfless and the team would run through a wall for him. He is perhaps the most team-oriented quarterback in the NFL and he repeatedly gives everything he has for the Ravens.

Lamar Jackson, here is the bottom line:

Jackson getting vaccinated would be in line with those truisms about him as a person and a player. According to reports, 90 percent of the team is vaccinated. The leader of the team choosing to get vaccinated would make a strong case for that number to get real close to 100 percent.

While it’s important not to force vaccination and personal choice should be respected, it’s also important to live in the reality of the situation. The situation is that the most important player of the franchise can’t justify getting vaccinated, especially because he interacts with so much of the team every practice.

Jackson is the centerpiece of the offense. Jackson getting a positive test at any point is the most consequential a positive test can be for the Ravens.

With all due respect to personal choice, Jackson must get vaccinated. He’s the leader of the team and the action of getting vaccinated would be very meaningful to Baltimore Ravens football. Jackson is the most entertaining and enjoyable player on the Ravens, maybe even in the NFL.

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It’s from a good and respectful place that I say that Lamar Jackson should get take care of himself, be a leader and minimize risk in one decision. He needs to get the vaccination.