Aaron Rodgers fooled many reporters and fans when he said he was “immunized” this offseason. There was no follow-up, and everyone took it to mean that the superstar quarterback was vaccinated.
It later became clear that wasn’t the case. Rodgers tested positive and missed over a week, per NFL protocols, including Green Bay’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. His situation is getting compared to that of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown — and it shouldn’t be.
The Packers and the NFL knew Rodgers wasn’t vaccinated. By all accounts, he was adhering to those protocols set in place. The exceptions were when he appeared maskless in front of the media and attended a Halloween party away from the team facility. As a result, the NFL fined him.
Rodgers did not lie to the Packers or the NFL about his vaccination status. They were well aware, even if he misled the media into believing he was.
Brown was suspended for three games by the NFL for producing a fake vaccination card. He lied to the Buccaneers and lied to the NFL about his vaccination status by producing a phony copy of a vaccination card. The level-headed can easily identify the difference between the two situations, yet an angry mob is upset that the NFL is suspending Brown when Rodgers wasn’t.
Takes like this have surfaced since the Brown news was announced. The “there’s no difference” part could not be farther from the truth.
Yes, Rodgers knew he was unvaccinated, but guess who else knew? Everyone inside the building and the league office. Rodgers did not mislead them. He did not parade around with a fake vaccination card. He was getting tested daily. Brown wasn’t. By all accounts, Rodgers was wearing a mask when he was around the facility, except when facing the media. Rodgers is guilty of tucking his tail between his legs when the cameras were on him to try and pose as someone who was vaccinated. He enhanced that belief this summer when he said he was immunized. But it pales in comparison to what Brown did. As a result, the NFL dished out different punishments.
The fact that some can’t see the difference when Brown went out his way to produce a fake vaccination card, avoided the unvaccinated protocols, and lied to the NFL and the Buccaneers is mind-boggling. Call Rodgers a coward. Call him a liar to the public. All of that is fair. He was still getting tested every day and going along with the NFL’s protocols, except when he was maskless for press conferences.
What really hurt Rodgers’ case was when he doubled down on some of his stances when he appeared on The Pat McAfee Show back in November. He used trigger names like Joe Rogan, who he said he consulted. And he made it clear that he didn’t buy into what the “woke mob” was saying. Many were already pissed that the superstar quarterback had misled the masses. He didn’t help his case when he spoke for the first time after it all went down.
He would clarify a lot of it just a few days later when he appeared on The Pat McAfee Show again.
“I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading, and to anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments,” Rodgers said.
“I shared an opinion that is polarizing. I get it,” Rodgers said. “And I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility of, those comments.
“But in the end, I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about, and I stand behind the things that I said,” he said. “And I have a ton of empathy for people who have been going through the worst part of this pandemic.”
For many, the damage had already been done. Had Rodgers just come out and owned up to it from the get-go after he tested positive, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many angry people complaining that Brown got suspended and Rodgers didn’t. In a sense, Rodgers dug his own grave, so some of the criticism he is still receiving is warranted. But to go as far as to say there is no difference between what he did and what Brown did is flat-out ignorant.
Rodgers’ punishment was light, there’s no doubting that. Brown’s is heavy; nobody is debating that either. Those two outcomes make it easier for some to grow even more frustrated about what happened. It’s easier to dissect when it’s clear that everyone within the league knew about Rodgers’ status, he just pulled a snake move by misleading reporters. Brown tried lying to every person in and out of the league and went a step further in producing a fake vaccine card. That’s why he ultimately got suspended, and Rodgers didn’t. Stop comparing the two situations.