One by one, celebrities who have opted not to get the COVID-19 vaccine are coming out of the woodwork. Nicki Minaj famously revealed herself by refusing to go to September’s vaccine-mandated Met Gala, Black Panther‘s Letitia Wright posted a seemingly anti-vax video on social media last December, and now, the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers has definitively come out to say he has not, and will not, get the COVID-19 vaccine, despite recently testing positive for the virus. In a new interview on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers has now given a lengthy explanation of why he didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine and why he described himself as “immunized” in a press conference earlier this year — and his blatant outrage sorely misses the point of how we need to be thinking about this pandemic as a community.
On the show, Rodgers announces his intent to “set the record straight on some of the blatant lies that have been out there about myself” before “the final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket” starting, apparently, with his choice to describe himself as “immunized” at an earlier press conference in response to questions about vaccine status.
“During that time, it was a very witch hunt that was going on across the league,” Rodgers contends. “My plan was to say that I have been immunized. It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie, it was the truth. Had there been a follow-up to my statement… I would have said, ‘Look, I’m not, you know some sort of anti-vaxx, flat-earther. I am somebody who is a critical thinker. I march to the beat of my own drum. I believe strongly in bodily autonomy, [in the] ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something.’”
There’s a lot to unpack here — starting with the alarming number of Donald Trump-preferred buzzwords Rodgers has managed to sprinkle into his answer (“witch hunt”? “woke mob”?!). In this case, we can only assume the “woke mob” he’s referring to is the FDA and the CDC, both of which have approved the COVID-19 vaccines’ safety and strongly recommend it.
“I have an allergy to an ingredient that’s in the mRNA vaccines. On the CDC’s own website, it says, ‘Should you have an allergy to any of these ingredients, you should not get one of the mRNA vaccines.’ So those two were out already,” Rodgers goes on to explain. “So, my only option was Johnson & Johnson. At this time, in the early spring, I had heard of multiple people who had adverse events around getting [that shot]. [Then] in April, [it] got pulled for clotting issues. So, the J&J shot was not even an option at that point.”
Rodgers went on to reveal that his immunization protocol has involved taking parasitic drug ivermectin, most frequently used on animals, at the recommendation of podcast host Joe Rogan, despite the FDA’s strong recommendation not to do so. He has also received homeopathic treatment to raise his antibody levels. Rodgers had petitioned for the NFL to reconsider his “unvaccinated” status within the league, but they refused to do so and had him operate by stricter protocols for testing and distancing throughout the season.
Rodgers also says outright that he’s “not selfish” — which means he’s at least aware that the accusation is being leveled against him. And this is where the NFL player’s rant feels so off-base, at this point in the pandemic: in all this talk about what he felt was best for his body and his needs, there’s no consideration of how he can best keep those around him safe.
“Personal health decisions should be private,” Rodgers says, and that’s true — but personal decisions that put others’ health at risk shouldn’t. That’s why we regulate where you can smoke cigarettes in public places, and that’s why the NFL is trying as hard as it can, without an outright vaccine mandate, to encourage its players to get vaccinated or undergo much stricter protocols.
With his emphasis on the perceived “woke mob” coming after him, Rodgers is once again fixated on how he may be hurt in all this. If he looks outward at how his actions affect those around him, he may at least find clarity in why he’s getting this reaction.
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