“I stand by what I said and the reasons why I made the decision,” Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday. | Jeffrey Phelps/AP
“I shared an opinion that is polarizing,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “… But at the end I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about.”
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday following a provocative appearance on the program last week in which he defended his unvaccinated status and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
“I made some comments that people might’ve felt were misleading. To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments,” Rodgers said at the beginning of his interview with McAfee, the former Indianapolis Colts punter, and A.J. Hawk, Rodgers’ former Packers teammate.
“I stand by what I said and the reasons why I made the decision,” Rodgers said later in the interview.
McAfee pressed Rodgers on the medical experts he consulted to make his decision, other than Joe Rogan, who Rodgers praised last week. He offered no specifics.
“Look, I have a lot of admiration for Joe,” Rodgers said. “I definitely talked with about a dozen friends of mine who dealt with COVID and they were all very helpful in different ways, Joe being one of them.”
Rodgers is required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days, in accordance with the NFL’s health and safety protocols that were jointly agreed to with the NFL Players Association, meaning that he could also miss Green Bay’s next game, Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Once the 10-day period has passed, Rodgers will have to produce two negative tests at least 24 hours apart and will have to be symptom free to be cleared to return to the team.
Rodgers said he has several health hurdles to clear before knowing he’s ready for game action. He’s taken walks and done yoga while recovering from the infection. He acknowledged there’s a possibility he won’t play Sunday and said he is prepared to focus on what’s happening on the field again.
“I’m an athlete. I’m not an activist,” he said. “So I’m going to get back to what I’m doing best, and that’s playing ball.”
Rodgers hasn’t made any other public comments, other than Friday’s episode of the “Pat McAfee Show,” when he confirmed that he was unvaccinated and added that he had taken ivermectin during a 46-minute session. Following Friday’s appearance, Rodgers has faced harsh criticism for his comments, many of which don’t hold up to scrutiny after fact checking.
Rodgers said last week that, politically, the left will vilify him while the right would champion his decision. He also referenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about following “unjust laws.”
“Hate is not going to bring us out of this pandemic. It’s going to be connecting and love,” he said. “I’m not going to hate on anybody that’s said things about me. I believe everybody’s entitled to their opinion and I’ll always believe that.”
Rodgers, 37, had said in August that he was “immunized” when a reporter asked him in a news conference if he was vaccinated. He did not clarify his status after a follow-up question about what went into his decision.
“I shared an opinion that is polarizing,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “I get it. And I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility for, those comments, but at the end I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about.”
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