The reigning MVP of the NFL, and one of the league’s most popular and prominent players, hit almost every anti-vaxx talking point, conspiracy theory and Facebook meme there is Friday in trying to justify why he isn’t vaccinated and why he lied about it.
He said he was taking Ivermectin. Had consulted that noted scientist, UFC charlatan Joe Rogan. And to complete his aggrieved, anti-vaxxer-conspiracy theorist bingo card, Rodgers said he was a victim of “cancel culture.”
“I’m in the crosshairs of the ‘woke mob’ right now,” he said.
The NFL might have been looking for every out not to punish Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, but he left them little choice.
He’s not only one of the best players in the league – at 7-1, the Packers are tied for the NFL’s best record and would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs – he’s one of the most visible, his State Farm ads on what seem like an endless loop this fall. Having a conspiracy theorist who is encouraging people to flout safe and proven medical advice in favor of homeopathic remedies found on the Internet as the face of the NFL can’t be what the league wants.
While the NFL can’t punish Rodgers for his thoughts or even his words, insane as they might be, he acknowledged breaking the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Asked why he hasn’t worn a mask for indoor interviews, as is required, Rodgers said it “makes absolutely no sense to me” because news media members are vaccinated and masked.
That alone shows a complete ignorance of the science. But it also wasn’t his choice to make. These protocols are part of the collective bargaining agreement and, as a union member, Rodgers is subject to them.
If the league lets him get away with picking and choosing the protocols he follows, the NFL might as well scrap them all because there can’t be one set of rules for one player and another for everybody else.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Aaron Rodgers on COVID-19: QB dangerously misinformed, not a victim