Four days after going viral for publicly expressing his opinions about COVID-19 and confirming that he is not vaccinated, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers issued a kind of non-apology for misleading people about his vaccination status, while not backing down from his views on the subject.
"I do realize that I am a role model to a lot of people," Rodgers said on The Pat McAfee Show. "I made some comments that people might've felt were misleading. To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments."
Rodgers have been under the national microscope after he tested positive for COVID-19 last week, which lifted the lid on his vaccination status. He said prior to the NFL season started that he had been "immunized," which to everyone's surprise didn't mean "vaccinated," but rather a homeopathic treatment apparently designed to boost his immune system.
He claims that he didn't take the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines because of an "allergy" and passed on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of an extraordinarily rare blood-clotting risk.
It was reported Tuesday that Rodgers was "very upset" with the criticism he's received since his first appearance on McAfee's show, in which he accused media members of being on a "witch hunt" for unvaccinated players. Rodgers also said he was in the "crosshairs of the woke mob" that the final nail was being pounded into his "cancel culture casket."
Not only that, but Rodgers admitted that he got COVID-19 advice from podcast host Joe Rogan and also likened his stance against the NFL's COVID-19 vaccine guidelines to Martin Luther King Jr. objecting to "unjust rules."
The tone Rodgers set from the start during his second appearance on the show was more about empathizing with people who have been negatively impacted by COVID.
"I'm feeling really good. I'm definitely fortunate to have the type of care that I've been able to have. I know it's special and it's helped me get through this better. I also know that it hasn't been like that for everybody. I know this is a difficult time for so many people dealing with COVID. It's been a tough two years for a lot of people," he said.
Rodgers reiterated: "I understand that people are suffering and this has been a really difficult time for the last two years on so many people. I think we all know people who have lost their lives ... people who've lost their businesses, their livelihoods, their way of life has been altered completely, and I empathize with those things."
But Rodgers didn't take back any of his comments that he agreed were "very charging to a lot of people."
"I stand by what I said and the reasons why I made the decision," said Rodgers, later saying: "I'm an athlete. I'm not an activist, so I'm going to get back to doing what I do best, and that's playing ball."