Aaron Rodgers confirmed that he is indeed unvaccinated when he made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday afternoon, and he went on to clarify the recent reports, some that may result in a fine for the quarterback.
“I hope we can take a step back, quit lying, stop with the witch hunt and canceling,” Rodgers repeated throughout the interview. “This is a conversation to be had, not a controversy, and move this forward with love and connection, that’s what we need in this world.”
Here are 10 of the most noteworthy moments from Rodgers's bombshell interview that sent the NFL World into a tizzy.
1. He said he did not lie in the initial press conference. "I am not a liar ... not an anti-vaxx, flat-earther"
"First of all I didn’t lie in the initial press conference. … At the time, my plan was to say I’ve been immunized. It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie, it was the truth. Had there been a follow up to my statement that I’d been immunized, I would’ve responded with this: Look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax, flat-earther. I’m someone who is a critical thinker. I march to the beat of my own drum. I believe strongly in bodily autonomy, and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something. Health is not a one-sized fits all for everyone.”
2. He said he had an an allergy to mRNA vaccines.
“It was pretty easy in the beginning to eliminate two of them. And it didn’t involve going into their questionable history of criminal activity and fraud cases and that kinda stuff. It was simply the fact that I have an allergy to an ingredient that’s in the mRNA vaccines. On the CDC’s own website it says if you have an allergy to any of the ingredients, you should not get one of the mRNA vaccines. So those two (Moderna and Pfizer) were out already. So, my only option was Johnson & Johnson. At this time, in the early spring, I had heard of multiple people who had adverse [effects] around J&J. Not any deaths, just some really difficult times and physical abnormalities around the J&J shot. Then, in mid-April, the J&J shot got pulled for clotting issues, so the J&J shot was not even an option at that point.”
3. His added reluctance was around the correlation between the vaccines and fertility. "I want to be a father some day."
"The next great chapter in my life is being a father. It’s something I care about a lot. To my knowledge, there have been no long-term studies around sterility or fertility issues around the vaccines. That was something I was worried about. Even if I didn’t have [the allergy], that’d give me a little bit of pause. When people say, ‘Just get the jab,’ everyone’s body is different and there’s a lot of things we don’t know about this."
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Aug. 11, 2021 that there's "currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men." Additionally, the webpage highlighted that "Professional societies for male reproduction recommend that men who want to have babies in the future be offered COVID-19 vaccination. There is no evidence that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause male fertility problems."
4. He followed protocols ... but also didn't want to wear masks at press conferences.
"I have followed every single protocol to a T," Rodgers said. "My daily routine is the routine of an unvaccinated person. I have to test early. Starting the season, unvaccinated people had to test once a day. We're being made to think we're the dangerous ones, we're the super spreaders. I test every single day and (at) 5 a.m. for noon games. Before you go in, you have to wait in your car. Non-vaccinated people test and go right in. Mask every day in the facility. Physically distance from everyone else. I can't leave the hotel, can't have dinner with teammates. The only people I see at the hotel are vaccinated people. I can't see anybody after the game. I work out off to the side of the room in a mask. I'm not allowed to use the sauna or steam room. I have to wear a yellow wristband at all times, shouting to the world, 'I'm unclean and unvaxxed.'"
However, the quarterback discussed the NFL and NFLPA's COVID-19 protocols at length with McAfee. Rodgers claimed "a lot of the protocols aren't based on science at all," and specifically took issue with having to be masked at press conferences as an unvaccinated player.
"Some of the rules to me are not based in science at all," Rodgers said. "They're based purely in trying to out and shame people. Like needing to wear a mask at a podium when every person in the room is vaccinated and wearing a mask makes no sense to me.
"If you got vaccinated to protect yourself from a virus that I don't have as an unvaccinated individual, then why are you worried about anything that I can give you?"
5. His stance on "bodily autonomy" and "my body, my rights"
“What about ‘My body, my choice?’” Rodgers said. “What about making the best decision for my circumstance? This idea that it’s the pandemic of the unvaccinated, it’s just a total lie.”
A recent CDC study debunks this, detailing that the unvaccinated are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to the vaccinated.
6. Quoted MLK.
“As an aside, the great MLK said, you have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense,” Rodgers said.
He misquoted Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote in a 1963 letter from the Birmingham, Alabama jail, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
There is no “law” requiring NFL players to get vaccinated or a league-wide vaccine mandate, but there are the COVID-19 protocols unvaccinated players must follow.
7. He received recommendations from Joe Rogan.
Rodgers said he consulted with "now-good friend of mine" Joe Rogan, an outspoken vaccine critic and popular podcast host. The quarterback said he is taking a combination of "monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, zinc, Vitamin C and DHCQ [desethyl hydroxychloroquine]. I feel pretty incredible."
"I've been doing a lot of the stuff that he recommended in his podcasts and on the phone to me, and I'm going to have the best immunity possible now based on the 2.5-million person study from Israel that people who get COVID and recover have the most robust immunity. I'm thankful for people like Joe stepping up and using their voice, thankful for my medical squad, thankful for all the love and support I've gotten."
8. He claimed media was sitting on the story. "Somehow found out about it and have been sitting on it for a couple of months ... health should not be political"
"Everyone in the organization knew I wasn't vaccinated," Rodgers said. "I wasn't hiding it from anybody. I was trying to minimize and mitigate having to have this conversation. There were people in the media who somehow found out about it and have been sitting on it for a couple months... People knew and they sat on it."
9. He said he's a victim of "the woke mob" and "cancel culture"
"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 think I’d like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself."
Rodgers expressed his disappointment with the media's coverage following his positive test. He said he believes the media was on a "witch hunt" in August to determine which NFL players were vaccinated and which were not. Three months ago, Rodgers told reporters that he was "immunized" when asked whether or not he was vaccinated.
10. When he presented his own research on COVID to the NFL, "They thought I was a quack."
Rodgers said he has worked with doctors and done his own research into what works best for his body, which includes taking monoclonal antibodies and ivermectin. The Food and Drug Administration has warned COVID-19 patients against taking ivermectin, which has repeatedly been shown to be an ineffective treatment against the coronavirus in clinical trials.
ESPN reported Rodgers underwent an alternative treatment before the start of training camp and petitioned for the league to consider him the same as someone who received one of the vaccinations. The NFL, the NFL Players Association and an infectious disease consultant approved by both parties looked at Rodgers's case for an exception, but he was ultimately considered unvaccinated by league standards.
More Aaron Rodgers Coverage:
• The Problem Is Aaron Rodgers Thinks He Has All the Answers
• Rodgers Could Be Fined Due to His Behavior As an Unvaccinated Player
• The QB Carousel We Expected Last Offseason May Really Be Coming in 2022