Aaron Rodgers is one of the National Football League’s best quarterbacks and a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Rodgers plays for the Green Bay Packers, a team located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. For the uninitiated, Green Bay is an exceptional city in that it has an NFL team despite a population of only 104,000. Despite being a small town, the team has more championships than any team in NFL history (although many of those championships came before the professionalisation of the sport). Suffice it to say that being the Packers’ quarterback is an honour and a burden, and Rodgers has been with the team since 2005.
Before last week, Rodgers was generally well-liked and respected across the sporting world, not just the football community. But when Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on the third of November, the world learned that the star quarterback had never been vaccinated. This came as a surprise to many, since back in August, he responded with ‘Yeah, I’m immunised’ when asked if he had been vaccinated. Most had assumed that ‘immunised’ meant vaccinated, but that is not the case. The story is still developing, and Rodgers will likely receive some sort of sanction for violating NFL safety protocols and putting players and employees in danger, but the important part of this story is what it teaches us about the United States as a whole.
Truth is in the eye of the beholder
Rodgers perfectly displays a uniquely American phenomenon: arrogant unintelligence. Rather than paraphrase, his statements do a better job of establishing the point. In his first public appearance since testing positive (via interview with The Pat McAfee Show), Rodgers rattled off a litany of questionable assertions, including:
- I’m not some sort of anti-vaxx flat-earther. I am somebody who’s a critical thinker. I march to the beat of my own drum. I believe strongly in bodily autonomy, and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something.
- The vaccines do offer some protection for sure, but there is a lot we don’t know about them.
- To my knowledge, there has been zero long-term studies around sterility or fertility issues around the vaccines
- I’m 48 hours in. I consulted with a now good friend of mine, Joe Rogan, after he got COVID. I’ve been doing a lot of the stuff that he recommended in his podcasts and on the phone to me.
And perhaps the icing on the cake was a blatant misappropriation of a quote by Martin Luther King Junior: ’The great MLK said, “You have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense”’.
With that statement, Rodgers equated public health policies to save lives with laws that segregated against people based on the colour of their skin. The response, as would be expected: a lot of people lost a lot of respect for him for comparing having to wear a mask with the civil rights movement. Since Rodgers is unvaccinated, he will have to quarantine for 10 days and test negative afterwards to return to the field. He seems to be in perfectly good health, but his reputation is irreparably damaged.