Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has gotten plenty of attention for his play on the field this season in leading his squad to a 13–4 record and the NFC's top seed for the playoffs. But he's also made several headlines off the field due to his COVID-19 vaccination status—and his stance on the matter.
Friday, via a fascinating feature on Rodgers by ESPN's Kevin Van Valkenburg, Rodgers again made waves, this time by taking aim at President Joe Biden.
Rodgers, in a 28-minute phone call with Van Valkenburg, covered several topics, including his experience on the ManningCast, his relationship with Joe Rogan, his frequent appearances on The Pat McAfee Show and, of course, football. But it was a few lines about the commander in chief that generated the most reaction among readers.
According to TMZ, Biden was revealed to have told a Packers fan he wants Rodgers to get the vaccine while visiting Kentucky after a week of deadly tornadoes back in December.
Rodgers reportedly caught wind of the incident and was not happy. In the ESPN feature, he criticized Biden for classifying the pandemic as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” something the president said back during an official White House statement Sept. 9. He also expressed distrust of the CDC and commented on Biden's public speaking ability.
The quote, via ESPN, includes an editor's note about a CDC study regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine:
“In December, he was not happy when President Joe Biden, while taking a tour of tornado-ravaged towns in Kentucky, joked with a woman wearing a Packers jacket that she should tell Rodgers to get the vaccine.
“When the president of the United States says, ‘This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ it's because him and his constituents, which, I don't know how there are any if you watch any of his attempts at public speaking, but I guess he got 81 million votes,” Rodgers said Thursday. “But when you say stuff like that, and then you have the CDC, which, how do you even trust them, but then they come out and talk about 75% of the COVID deaths have at least four comorbidities. And you still have this fake White House set saying that this is the pandemic of the unvaccinated, that's not helping the conversation.”
(Editor's note: The CDC study found that in a group of 1.2 million people who were fully vaccinated between December 2020 and October 2021, 36 of them had a death associated with COVID-19—and that of those 36 people, 28, or about 78%, had at least four of eight risk factors.)
Rodgers has faced a great deal of scrutiny this season, and this interview likely won't do much to change that. That said, it hasn't affected his play much. Rodgers is considered by most to be the favorite to win the league's MVP award for the second season in a row.
The timing of the interview is also interesting, given the fact that the Packers will square off against the 49ers in just over 24 hours. Much of the talk leading up to the game may, yet again, not be on the game itself.
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