Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he stands behind the comments he made last week about why he didn’t get vaccinated for COVID-19 but acknowledges misleading some people about his status before testing positive.
Rodgers tested positive Wednesday, was unavailable to play in the Packers’ 13-7 loss Sunday at Kansas City, and remains quarantined in his Green Bay home.
“I shared an opinion that’s polarizing,” Rodgers said. “I get it. And I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility for, those comments. But in the end, I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about. I stand behind the things that I said.”
When he was asked about his vaccination status in an Aug. 26 news conference, Rodgers replied by saying, “Yeah, I’m immunized.”
The three-time NFL MVP said he didn’t want the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after hearing of multiple people who’d had adverse reactions to it. Rodgers also said he was worried about potential fertility issues from getting one of these three vaccines, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and obstetrician groups recommend COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant individuals.
“I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading,” Rodgers said. “To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments.”
Rodgers didn’t specify the comments he was referencing at the time. But about 20 minutes later, he acknowledged that he had misled some people about his vaccination status.
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. were tested in tens of thousands of people and proven to be safe and effective at dramatically reducing the risk of serious disease and death. Serious side effects are extremely rare – and any risk is far lower than the risks posed by COVID-19.
Rodgers emphasized that he realizes the gravity of the pandemic and its impact. During his Friday appearance, he had talked about being “in the crosshairs of the woke mob” and wanting to tell his side of the story “before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket.”
“I understand that people are suffering,” Rodgers said. “This has been a difficult time for the last two years on so many people. We all know individuals who’ve lost their lives personally, people who’ve lost their businesses, their livelihoods. Their way of life has been changed completely. And I empathize with those things. I also know how sports can be such a connector and bring people together in times of adversity. I do realize that I am a role model to a lot of people.”
After Rodgers made his comments Friday, Wisconsin-based Prevea Health said it had ended its nine-year partnership with the veteran quarterback. Prevea Health’s announcement said it was a mutual parting.
State Farm issued a statement Monday saying it disagrees with some of Rodgers’ statements.
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