Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went on a lengthy rant Friday on the Pat McAfee Show, saying he's currently in the "crosshairs of the woke mob" that is pounding the final nail in his "cancel culture casket" after it emerged he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 after contracting the virus.
Rodgers is currently on the NFL's Reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday. Because he's unvaccinated, he must sit out a minimum of 10 days and will miss Green Bay's game this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
But the reason Rodgers, as he says, is in the crosshairs of public scrutiny, is because he said before the season that he is "immunized." He never publicly shared that he didn't get the vaccine, which he says he avoided because he allegedly has an allergy to an ingredient used in the mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, and wasn't interested in getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of concerns over the (extremely rare) side effect of blood clotting.
"I didn't lie in the initial press conference," said Rodgers, claiming media members were on a "witch hunt" to find players who weren't vaccinated. "At the time, my plan was to say that I'd been immunized."
Rodgers said he would've gone into further detail about his status had anyone in the media simply asked a follow-up question.
"I'm not some sort of anti-vaxx flat-earther. I'm 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 own body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something. Health is not a one-size-fits-all for everybody," he said.
He also went on to cite Martin Luther King, Jr. during his eyebrow-raising appearance.
Rodgers said he spent as much time researching the vaccines as he did before he served as a guest host for a week on "Jeopardy!" He came to the conclusion that avoiding the vaccines – which have been found through widespread global use to be safe – were "in my best interest."
He is also fearful that the vaccine could lead to sterility, suggesting that even if he didn't have his "allergy" this would give him pause before getting vaccinated.
No studies so far have found any credible link between the COVID vaccine and sterility – although there have been studies that suggest the actual virus itself can cause sterility or sexual dysfunction.
“There is evidence to suggest that infection with SARS-CoV-2 has the potential to impact both male fertility, female fertility, and certainly the health of a pregnancy of someone infected,” said Dr. Jennifer Kawwass, a reproductive endocrinologist and associate professor at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, in an October interview with NBC News. “And there is simultaneously no evidence that the vaccine has any negative impact on male or female fertility.”
Rodgers then bemoaned the rules unvaccinated players must follow compared to the vaccinated. He said unvaccinated players are "being made to think that we're the dangerous ones," then listed things he's doing every day to follow league protocol, which includes testing every day, social distancing from others, and not leaving his hotel or having dinner with his teammates.
During his interview, Rodgers also admitted that he's taken the deworming medication ivermectin – which has not been approved for use to treat COVID-19 and medical experts have found no evidence that it is effective in treating the virus – as well as taking zinc, another popular suggested medication in anti-vaxxer communities, and monoclonal antibodies, which have actually been approved for use in treating COVID-19.
He also said that the steps he took to treat his COVID came after consulting with podcast host Joe Rogan, who is not a medical professional.
"I consulted with a now-good friend of mine, Joe Rogan, after he go COVID. And i've been doing a lot of the stuff he recommended in his podcast and on the phone to me, and I'm going to have the best immunity possible now based on the 2.5 million person study from Israel that the people who get COVID and recover have the most robust immunity."
The study that Rodgers is referring to dates back to August and still describes vaccination as vital, saying it's "extremely risky" to rely on contracting and recovering from the virus. It also found that even greater immunity is conferred by recovering from COVID and then getting a single vaccine shot.
What's more, since then a study conducted by the CDC on patients in America – which was published last week – found that unvaccinated people who had previously gotten COVID-19 were five times more likely to be reinfected with the virus than fully vaccinated patients who had never had it.
What's more, the vaccine has been proven to significantly reduce the chances of being hospitalized or die from COVID-19, and those hoping to rely on "natural immunity" run the risk of complications in the event they contract COVID one or more times.