Even in spite of massive public backlash, Aaron Rodgers’ said his outspoken nature isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
Making his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers defended his comments in a recent ESPN story where he was painted as being “unapologetically himself.”
In Rodgers’ case, that entailed railing against “this fake White House,” as well as spreading misinformation about vaccines and COVID-19 and claiming he was being censored and silenced despite giving an interview to the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”
“There were parts of answers that weren’t entire like the answer about the president and some of the answers were pared down, for sure, but I stand by what I said in that interview,” Rodgers said. “Most of us that’s what we strive to be — we strive to be ourselves and be authentic. There’s parts of us that die inside a little bit when he have to act or play a role or not be ourselves.”
He then addressed the situation from over the summer where he made his now infamous “immunized” comment regarding his vaccination status and said had there been a follow-up question, he would’ve expanded on it.
It was Rodgers’ way of answering a question he felt was inevitable and even called it a “witch hunt,” while asserting he was on the right side of these issues and that it’s everyone else who’ll be changing their tunes and playing the nobility card by recognizing he was setting himself up to be in the cross hairs in the event of a follow-up.
“I really felt like at some point I was gonna have to talk about it. I was interested to see how it would start and there was a witch hunt, for sure. Who’s vaccinated, who’s not, who can we shame? I think as the narrative of COVID change, you’re going to see a lot of people recanting their statements and changing history and revising what happened.
But Rodgers felt some of the policies the league imposed were all part of a larger effort by the NFL to forego actual safety and simply shame unvaccinated players and boost the league’s vaccination numbers.
“It was my assertion and still is today, that some of the policies the league imposed on the non-vaccinated had nothing to do with health and were more about shame than anything else,” he said.
At another point in the interview, Rodgers continued in and said how politics were “a sham” and how he didn’t want to be an activist or a politicized person, despite assuming both roles and discussing political topics.
He also shifted the focus off himself and said the issue isn’t as much with his comments as it is with everyone else.
“This issue is so politicized and so triggering to people, it’s hard to hear words from a dissenting opinion if you live your life in an echo chamber filled with confirmation bias. I don’t want my views bolstering the anti vaxxers & triggering the vax people…I want to be somebody who has an opinion and is open to hearing from both sides because that’s what we need more of in this country.”
Rodgers ultimately conceded that what he’s said this season and his vaccination status have been polarizing and divisive, but that that wasn’t his intention.
As a result of his vaccination status, or lack thereof, Rodgers said he felt people were rooting against him in the Packers’ 13-10 loss to San Francisco in Saturday’s NFC Divisional round game.
“There were a ton of people tuning in, rooting against us for one reason and one reason only — it’s because of my vaccination status and them wanting to see us lose so they could pile on,” he said.