The Green Bay Packers’ star quarterback recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list, which meant he would miss the highly-anticipated matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Soon after news of his positive test, more information emerged that confirmed Aaron Rodgers was not vaccinated, nor was he following team and league protocols for players who chose not to get vaccinated.
As a result, the NFL is looking into whether Aaron Rodgers violated COVID protocols for unvaccinated players. The league is also looking into whether the Packers failed to discipline Rodgers if he did violate the rules.
The NFL’s protocol for unvaccinated players remains the same as in 2020: an unvaccinated player that tests positive must be isolated for a period of 10 days and can return to the team if asymptomatic. Additionally, unvaccinated players must isolate for five days if they have had close contact with an infected person. Vaccinated players, however, do not have to be isolated if they come into contact with an infected person.
According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, the NFL will fine Rodgers and the Packers if the investigation finds that either party flouted the league’s COVID policy. In this case, it does not look like the NFL will suspend Aaron Rodgers.
As far as evidence goes, the league will not have to look far. Aaron Rodgers’ Halloween photos of him dressed as John Wick at a party have already become public on social media. The pictures show Rodgers in full costume and without a mask. Various reports also indicate that Aaron Rodgers fully participated in organizational activities without wearing a mask or practicing social distancing.
Earlier in the season, when a reporter asked Aaron Rodgers whether he received the COVID vaccine, the quarterback replied, “I’m immunized.” Now that Rodgers is out for an important game against the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday, there’s also a good chance he could miss Week 10 if he does not return negative COVID tests by that time.
At the very least, Rodgers' absence (after an offseason of holding out) will disrupt the Packers’ season. More importantly, if he really did violate the league’s policy for unvaccinated players, Rodgers could have potentially put team players and personnel at risk of exposure, in addition to anyone outside the Packers organization.
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The lack of action is evident of the fact that the league and the Green Bay Packers decided not to uphold their COVID-19 policy when it came to Rodgers. Aside from perceived preferential treatment, the Aaron Rodgers saga will undoubtedly put public pressure on the NFL to enforce its policy evenly for all players, or at the very least, force the league to re-examine or amend its protocols.