From misleading vaccine comments to “COVID toe,” Aaron Rodgers had had quite a couple of months.
The Packers quarterback’s placement on the COVID-19 list earlier this season proved to be a catalyst for a hectic November: Rodgers came under fire for his deceptive comments regarding his vaccination status, though the quarterback didn’t help matters in press conferences that followed.
Rodgers spent the minimum time on the COVID list, missing just a single game after contracting the virus in early November, but inflammatory remarks by Rodgers — and a few battles with the media that followed — the time dealing with the aftermath has been anything but minimum.
Here’s what went down:
Aaron Rodgers’ COVID-19 comments
Aug. 26: During a preseason press conference, Rodgers answers a question regarding his vaccination status. While it’s an innocuous answer, it would later prove to be one of the first signs that Rodgers hadn’t been vaccinated.
“Yeah, I’ve been immunized,” Rodgers said during the preseason. “There’s a lot of conversation around it, around the league, and a lot of guys who have made statements and not made statements, owners who have made statements. There’s guys on the team that haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s a personal decision. I’m not going to judge those guys.”
Rodgers’ “immunized” comments seem to slip under the radar at the time: While the quarterback said he had protection against the coronavirus, he didn’t explicitly state he had received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Nov. 3: Fast forward three months, and Rodgers is ruled out for a Week 9 matchup vs. the Chiefs after being placed on the COVID-19 list. While vaccinated players have an opportunity to play under the league’s guidelines (players can test negative twice to be deemed eligible to play), Rodgers is ultimately ruled out, leading to questions surrounding his vaccination status.
Nov. 5: The interview that rocked the NFL world: Rodgers opens up on “The Pat McAfee Show,” and covers a lot of ground on his vaccine stance. Some of the more pertinent points from the interview:
- Rodgers says that the Packers organization knew his vaccination status;
- Rodgers repeatedly said that the media and league are trying to “shame” and “out” people who are unvaccinated;
- Rodgers disagrees with some of the NFL’s protocols, including mask-wearing in certain settings;
- Rodgers says he consulted controversial podcast host and comedian Joe Rogan as to how to handle the virus;
- Rodgers blames “cancel culture” and the “woke mob” for coming after unvaccinated individuals.
Rodgers says he took hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, two unapproved methods of treatment for the coronavirus.
MORE: Fact-checking Aaron Rodgers’ bizarre ‘Pat McAfee Show’ interview
Nov. 9: In something of an about-face, Rodgers apologizes for his “misleading” COVID-19 comments, taking full responsibility for his omissions (again on the “Pat McAfee Show”).
“I acknowledge that 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 also says he consulted Joe Rogan and about a dozen friends as to how to handle COVID-19.
Nov. 15: Rodgers tries to move past his COVID-19 comments after returning to the field in Week 10. (The Packers beat the Seahawks 17-0.)
“I’m just focusing on the support that I got. And it was deep and wide and greatly, greatly appreciated,” Rodgers said. “There’s always going to be criticism in this world. I don’t define myself by the criticism. But I understand it’s part of this because this issue is definitely polarizing.”
Nov. 23: In his weekly spot on the “Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers says he’s suffering from “COVID toe,” a medical condition that actually exists; It’s an after effect of those who have actually contracted coronavirus. While Rodgers states it pretty plainly, it’s later revealed he was joking about the diagnosis.
(Editor’s note: NSFW language.)
Nov. 25: Rodgers clears the air about his “COVID toe” — It’s actually just a fractured toe, unrelated to his bout with the coronavirus. In a Zoom meeting, Rodgers gives reporters an up-close and personal look at the ailing phalange.
Aaron Rodgers displayed his bare foot at a press conference to prove he doesn’t have “covid toe,” and demanded an apology from the media. He also claims he “never heard of covid toe before” until the show host brought it up, which is a another lie… pic.twitter.com/BMnbrFRGIT
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 26, 2021
Nov. 28: In a matchup with the Rams, Fox play-by-play man Joe Buck slyly works in an “immunized” joke regarding Rodgers’ injured pinky toe.
“So Aaron is telling us that he’s had that toe immunized against the pain,” Buck says (presumably with a very large grin).
Nov. 30: Rodgers again takes shots at the media for misinterpreting the “COVID toe” saga, calling the media opportunistic and disingenous. The Packers QB demands an apology for what’s been written about him.
Is Aaron Rodgers vaccinated?
During the offseason, Rodgers told reporters that he was “immunized” against the coronavirus, adding that it’s a personal choice should one decide to get, or not get, the vaccine.
“Yeah, I’ve been immunized,” Rodgers said during the press conference. “There’s a lot of conversation around it, around the league, and a lot of guys who have made statements and not made statements, owners who have made statements. There’s guys on the team that haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s a personal decision. I’m not going to judge those guys.”
The “immunized” comment was an interesting answer, and the question was a bit vaguely worded: The reporter asked Rodgers what his stance on vaccination is and if he’s been vaccinated, but not specifically the coronavirus vaccine.
But, Rodgers’ vaccination status was confirmed with the QB out for Week 9. NFL Network reporters Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo had the story.
Rodgers explained in the past he had homeopathic treatments done to counteract the coronavirus, but the NFL’s doctors rejected Rodgers’ research and remedies, rendering his status as an unvaccinated player.