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Aaron Rodgers Says He Misled Media With ‘Immunized’ Remarks

For the majority of the 2021 season, Aaron Rodgers’s COVID-19 vaccine status endured as one of the most puzzling and controversial headlines in the sports world.

The Packers star revisited the situation Saturday on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, and revealed to host Joe Rogan that his infamous “I’m immunized” comment was actually an intentional misdirection.

During the conversation, Rodgers, 38, discussed the choice of words he used while revealing his status to reporters last August. After sharing that his medical exemption had been denied by the NFL, the veteran quarterback reiterated why he went with an “immunization process through a holistic doctor,” telling Rogan he was uncomfortable taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and was allergic to an ingredient used in the Moderna and Pfizer—glycol, or PEG. 

Rodgers, who missed Week 9 after testing positive for COVID-19, then shared with Rogan his thought process going into the memorable press conference last summer after learning the league had been asking “a bunch of other big quarterbacks” about their vaccine status. 

“I’d been ready the entire time for this question and had thought about how I wanted to answer it. And I had come to the conclusion I’m gonna say, ‘I’ve been immunized.’ And if there’s a follow-up, then talk about my process,” said Rodgers.

“But, (I) thought there’s a possibility that I say ‘I’m immunized,’ maybe they understand what that means, maybe they don’t. Maybe they follow up. They didn’t follow up. So then I go the season (with) them thinking, some of them, that I was vaccinated.”

Rodgers’s bout with the virus came in November 2021 after he apparently contracted COVID-19 from a teammate who was fully vaccinated. He later was fined by the Packers that month for attending a Halloween party with 18 vaccinated teammates; Rodgers also received criticism for conducting in-person press conferences without a mask throughout training camp and during the regular season.

Rodgers told Rogan he expected to face even more criticism after reports emerged that he had contracted the virus. 

“I knew at some point if I contracted COVID or if word got out, because it’s the NFL and there’s leaks everywhere, it was possible I’d have to answer the questions,” he told Rogan.

“And that’s when the s—storm hit, because now I’m a liar, I’m endangering the community, my teammates, all these people. And then, you know, attempted takedown of me and, you know, my word and my integrity began.”

With the NFL now set to implement significant changes to its COVID protocol for the ’22 campaign, Rodgers will begin the year under an entirely different microscope entering his 18th season with the Packers.

The four-time NFL MVP recorded 4,115 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions for the 13–4 Packers last season.

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