More discipline on the way?
Anyone hoping to see Aaron Rodgers punished harshly for masquerading as a vaccinated individual (and the Packers for allowing him to do so) would have been sorely disappointed when the NFL issued the quarterback and the franchise piddling fines Tuesday.
Rodgers and teammate Allen Lazard were fined $14,650 (in accordance with the fine schedule agreed to by the league and players union before the season) for attending a team Halloween party because unvaccinated players are not allowed to gather with teammates in groups of more than three outside of the team facility. The Packers were fined $300,000 for not reporting Rodgers and Lazard’s presence at the party and for not disciplining Rodgers for failing to wear his mask during press conferences.
The fines came after a league investigation in the wake of Rodgers’s positive COVID-19 test last week. But the investigation apparently failed to dig up other violations by Rodgers. Defector’s Kalyn Kahler posted a photo on Twitter that she said was sent to her by a Green Bay resident in which Rodgers is seen—unmasked—at an axe-throwing bar.
Unvaccinated NFL players are expressly prohibited from going to indoor bars “other than to pick up food, or unless [the] player is wearing PPE and there are no more than 10 people in the bar.” Since Rodgers was not wearing a mask and was an unvaccinated player gathering in a group of more than three teammates, the trip to the bar is considered as two violations of the NFL’s health and safety protocols. He should have been fined an additional $29,300 ($14,650 for each violation).
But how do we know that the photo is from this season? Because Rodgers is wearing the same outfit as he was in a photo taken on comedian Bert Kreischer’s tour bus during his stop in Green Bay on Oct. 15.
The photo with Kreischer could pose additional problems for Rodgers. Kahler said that “apparently” Rodgers posted clips from Kreischer’s show that night to his Instagram Story. But because Instagram Stories expire after 24 hours, there is no way to verify if Rodgers actually posted from the show. The photo on Kreischer’s bus was posted at 7:15 p.m. local time, before the show started. If Rodgers attended the show—and, again, there’s no good evidence that he did—then he would be subject to another $14,650 fine for “attending an indoor music concert/entertainment event.”
Even if Rodgers merely posed for a photo with Kreischer on his way to the axe-throwing bar, the night out with his teammates should lead to additional discipline from the league. It’s understandable that the NFL’s investigation, which was conducted in about a week, wouldn’t dig up evidence of Rodgers’s trip to the bar. But now that it’s out in the open, it’s just another instance of Rodgers, like he did when not wearing his mask for press conferences, picking and choosing which rules he wants to follow.
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