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When not telling blatant falsehoods about his vaccination status, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is creating a blatantly false impression regarding the manner in which the rules applicable to unvaccinated players are developed and applied.
When talking to Pat McAfee and A.J. Hawk on Friday regarding his decision to not be vaccinated — and to hide his status as unvaccinated — Rodgers pointed out that he didn’t accept any of the applicable protocols for the 2021 season.
“I understand that, you know, the league is able to put in place its own policies,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t agree to any of them, though. I didn’t sign a piece of paper that gave away my rights to live a normal season of life.”
He’s absolutely right. He didn’t agree to the protocols, and he didn’t sign a piece of paper that expressly reflected his assent to the various rules.
Here’s where he’s absolutely wrong. (And he’s smart enough to know it.) His union agreed to the policies, and his union signed the piece of paper that undermined the rights of the unvaccinated “to live a normal season of life.”
That’s how it works in a union. The union makes an agreement on behalf of all players. And if any of the players don’t like the terms of the agreement, too bad. The choices are to respect the terms of the agreement or quit.
It sounds blunt and frank and candid. But it’s true. Aaron Rodgers had two choices: accept the terms of the protocols jointly negotiated by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, or step aside for someone who will, like Jordan Love (who is vaccinated). Resign. Retire. Whatever term applies.
Others have huffed and puffed about the rules, but none of them ultimately blew their own careers down. Only Rodgers decided that certain rules were stupid and that he wouldn’t comply with them, because he didn’t believe in them.
And he benefited from the fact that the Packers decided to tiptoe around a delicate genius who openly contemplated retirement. The Packers weren’t going to hassle him to wear a mask when in street clothes during preseason games or when meeting with reporters during press conferences conducted in the team facility, and the league by all appearances was asleep at the switch while the blatant violations occurred.
Regardless, Rodgers wanted to have it both ways. He wanted to play, and he wanted to follow only the rules he felt like following. While he quite possibly wore a mask whenever cameras weren’t around, Rodgers deliberately violated the COVID protocols when others were present, in order to further the ruse that he was vaccinated — even though he wasn’t.
And now he claims that he feared the “woke mob” and “cancel culture.” It’s tired, it’s predictable, it’s convenient, and it’s wrong. It’s another example of someone using the force of their personality, along with their built-in following of fans, to intimidate and to bully the naysayers.
No one wants to “cancel” Aaron Rodgers. They just want to call him what he is. A liar. And they want to hold him accountable for his words and his deeds.
But he doesn’t want to be held accountable. He doesn’t want to be criticized. He doesn’t want to be scrutinized. Like so many pro athletes and celebrities, he wants fame on his own terms.
When it comes to not being vaccinated, he wanted no one to know. If no one knows, no one can criticize him.
Aaron Rodgers says he didn’t agree to the COVID protocols — but his union did originally appeared on Pro Football Talk