Fallout continues for NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who tossed out a smorgasbord of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and nearly every line from the 2021 anti-vaccine playbook in the course of a single 45-minute interview Friday.
Since then, the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback has lost his position as a spokesperson for Wisconsin-based healthcare organization Prevea Health. Insurance giant State Farm has also significantly cut back on ads that include him. And, now, the NFL is disputing his claim that league doctors provided him with bunk vaccine information.
Rodgers—who is unvaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19 last week—appeared on the The Pat McAfee Show Friday afternoon to address the growing scandal around his vaccination status. He also took the opportunity to rail against COVID-19 vaccines, NFL health policies, and the “woke mob.”
The unvaccinated footballer defended his previous public statement that he was “immunized” against COVID-19, saying that the league and his teammates were well aware of his actual, unvaccinated status. In lieu of a vaccine, Rodgers said he did his own research and decided to take a homeopathic “long-term protocol that involved multiple months.” He declined to describe what that protocol involved.
In explaining why he decided to shun the recommendations of medical professionals and rely instead on homeopathy and podcaster Joe Rogan, Rodgers claimed he had reason to doubt the NFL’s doctors. Rodgers recounted that, after the league rejected his request for a “vaccinated” status based on his homeopathic protocol, he filed an appeal. The appeal was a “multiweek process,” in which Rodgers—a “critical thinker”—collected over 500 pages of research on his own.
In that process, he claimed he had “many conversations” with the league. “But one in particular stood out when I knew I was not going to win this,” Rodgers said. “I had a meeting and they said—one of the main docs said—’it’s impossible for a vaccinated person to get COVID or spread COVID.’… which we know now that that information was totally false.”
Autonomous body meets infectious disease
In an emailed statement to NPR Monday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy denied that league doctors said any such thing or had even met with Rodgers. “No, it’s not true,” McCarthy wrote. “No doctor from the league or the joint NFL-NFLPA infectious disease consultants communicated with [Rodgers]. If they had, they certainly would have never said anything like that.”
It’s unclear what conversations Rodgers was talking about or who he may have actually had them with. But, with his distrust of league doctors, he apparently turned to homeopathic pseudoscience and the notable podcast host.
Upon testing positive for COVID-19 last week, Rodgers said he turned to Rogan for what drugs to take. He rattled off the list, which included monoclonal antibodies, zinc, and vitamin C. He also listed the antiparasitic drug ivermectin and the antimalaria drug dHCQ (desethyl-hydroxychloroquine). Both drugs are unproven for treating COVID-19 and can have serious side effects. “I feel pretty incredible,” Rodgers reported.
Amid touting unproven and experimental treatments, Rodgers cast aspersions and spread misinformation on highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines. He repeated the falsehood that the vaccines can affect fertility—there’s no evidence of that. Regardless, he also claimed he simply couldn’t take the vaccines even if he wanted to. He says he is allergic to ingredients in the mRNA vaccines, though he didn’t identify those ingredients. He also declined the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, citing concerns about blood clots—even though clots are extremely rare and mainly affect women.
In a statement Saturday, Prevea Health announced that it was cutting ties with Rodgers after a nine-year relationship. “Prevea Health remains deeply committed to protecting its patients, staff, providers and communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” the health care company wrote. “This includes encouraging and helping all eligible populations to become vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent the virus from further significantly impacting lives and livelihoods.” Prevea added that it would not provide any additional information on the topic.