The National Football League (NFL) has denied a comment from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers that he was told by a league doctor that people who take a vaccine for COVID-19 will not catch or spread the disease.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told news outlets in an emailed statement, “No doctor from the league or the joint NFL-NFLPA infectious disease consultants communicated with the player. If they had, they certainly would have never said anything like that.”
The statement counters what Rodgers said in an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Nov. 5.
“One of the main docs said it’s impossible for a vaccinated person to get COVID or spread COVID,” he said. “We know now that information is totally false.”
Rodgers, 37, tested positive for COVID-19 lasts week and must spend 10 days away from the team, per the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol. He can rejoin the team on Nov. 13. His positive test prompted the NFL to launch a review of the Green Bay Packers’ COVID-19 protocol enforcement.
Rodgers, three-time Most Valuable NFL Player, confirmed that he is unvaccinated on The Pat McAfee Show on Nov. 5.
He explained he has not taken any vaccines against COVID-19 because he is allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and is wary of taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, citing documented past cases of blood clots that prompted federal regulatory agencies to temporarily pause administration of the shots earlier this year.
The NFL said on Nov. 7 that it “has begun conducting interviews with Packers personnel and is expected to obtain video and other evidence as it reviews the team’s compliance with COVID protocols, in light of the public revelation that reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is unvaccinated.”
If violations are found, Rodgers and the club could face fines but not a suspension. Rodgers has appeared maskless at press conferences and at a Halloween party with teammates, according to NFL.com.
When asked by former Green Bay Packers teammate A.J. Hawk on The Pat McAfee Show about whether there was communication with the league or Packers on his not wearing a mask, Rodgers said, “There have been conversations.”
“[I] would add this to the mix as an aside: The great [Martin Luther King Jr.] said that you have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense. In my opinion, it makes no sense for me. I test every single day—every single day,” he said.
“If I test in the morning, and I wear a mask in the entire facility, and you want me to wear a mask just to shame me that I’m not vaccinated, to continue to perpetuate a story that I’m not vaccinated, in a room where the only way you can get in that room is if you’re fully vaccinated against a virus that I don’t have as an unvaccinated person … Not to mention, you’re sitting more than six feet away from me—in most cases, 20 feet away from me … Where’s the science in that?
“So it was my opinion that that wasn’t rooted in any science. Every other protocol, I followed to the T,” he said.