Aaron Rodgers displayed his mastery of the anti-vaccination playbook on Friday’s The Pat McAfee Show, the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s first interview since he tested positive for Covid-19.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the reigning NFL MVP would miss Sunday’s game after being diagnosed with Covid-19; reports soon followed that Rodgers was unvaccinated, despite him telling reporters earlier in the season “Yeah, I’ve been immunized” in response to a question about his vaccine status.
In the hours and days that followed, Rodgers came under fire for misleading reporters in that August media session. Rather than taking an apologetic tone, Rodgers, a “critical thinker,” started throwing Hail Marys at the onset of the show, repeatedly talking about witch hunts and cancel culture.
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“I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now so before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I’d like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies out there,” Rodgers said, forewarning an interview that rattled off a Bingo card’s worth of anti-vaxx catchphrases: Ivermectin, “politicized,” “my own research,” a Martin Luther King. Jr quote taken out of context (“You have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules”), “monoclonals,” “sterility,” and more.
“I’m making the decision that’s best for me and my health, and for me, it was a no-brainer,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers, as he told McAfee, consulted noted Covid expert Joe Rogan after testing positive for Covid. Earlier in the summer, the quarterback and his health advisors developed what he said was a 500-page research report for an alternative approach to Covid-19. He ultimately submitted the report to the Packers medical staff; team doctors, Rodgers said, looked at him like he was “a quack.”
Rodgers denied he misled reporters — he simply said he wasn’t asked any clarifying follow-up questions to his “immunized” statement — and stated he kept his vaccination status quiet because he didn’t want to be roped into the debate over vaccines. “Health shouldn’t be political,” he said, adding he didn’t want to become a spokesperson for the anti-vaxx movement. “I’m not gonna go on Fox News like I’m not gonna go on CNN.”
“I’m a non-vaxxed person, so the right is gonna champion me, and the left is gonna cancel me, but the whole time, I don’t give a shit about either of them,” he added. “The only desire I have is to empower people out there to take autonomy over their body.”
“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.”
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