For the majority of the 2021 season, Aaron Rodgers’ COVID-19 vaccine status has continued to be one of the most enigmatic and controversial headlines in the sports world.
But, as the Packers quarterback explained Saturday on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, his infamous “I’m immunized” comment was actually an intentional misdirection.
Rodgers revisited the situation with Rogan and discussed his choice of word when revealing his status to reporters last August. After sharing that his medical exemption was denied by the NFL, he reiterated why he went with an “immunization process through a holistic doctor,” telling Rogan that he was uncomfortable taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and was allergic to an ingredient used in the Modern . and Pfizer – glycol, or PEG.
Rodgers, who missed Week 9 after testing positive for COVID-19, revealed to Rogan his thought process going into last summer’s press conference after learning the league had asked “a bunch of other great quarterbacks” about their vaccination status.
“I was prepared all the time for this question and thought about how I wanted to answer it. And I came to the conclusion that I would say, ‘I was immunized.’ And if there’s a follow-up, then talk about my process,” Rodgers said.
“But, (I) thought there was a possibility that if I say ‘I’m immunized’, maybe they understand what that means, maybe they don’t. Maybe they follow. They did not follow. So then I go the season (with) them thinking, some of them, that I was vaccinated.”
Rodgers’ bout with the virus occurred in November 2021 after he apparently contracted COVID-19 from a teammate who had been fully vaccinated. He was later fined by the Packers that month for attending a Halloween party with 18 vaccinated teammates; Rodgers also received criticism for holding in-person news conferences without a mask during training camp and during the regular season.
Rodgers told Rogan that he expected to face even more criticism after reports emerged that he had contracted the virus.
“I once knew if I contracted COVID or if the word got out, because it’s the NFL and there are leaks everywhere, I might have to answer the questions,” he told Rogan.
“And then the s—storm hit, because now I’m a liar, I’m endangering the community, my teammates, all these people. And then, you know, tried to get rid of me and, you know, my word and my integrity started.”
With the NFL now set to implement major changes to its COVID protocol for the ’22 campaign, Rodgers will begin the year under a completely different microscope entering his 18th season with the Packers.
The 38-year-old Rodgers, a four-time NFL MVP, recorded 4,115 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions for the 13-4 Packers last season.
More NFL Coverage:
Packer Central: Five Positive Presentations From the Loss of Packers to Chiefs