Aaron Rodgers says the COVID-19 conversation hasn't centered around health, wears an anti-cancel culture sweatshirt on 'The Pat McAfee Show'
Aaron Rodgers' weekly appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" started with the Packers quarterback proudly showing off his anti-cancel culture hooded sweatshirt — a gift from Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy. It ended with a topic Rodgers hasn't addressed in a while but one that would surely get people's attention: COVID-19.
In between, Rodgers gave some highlights from the Packers' last game, including discussing the record-tying touchdown, showing appreciation for winning the NFC North for the third straight year as well as how he "loved" the Ravens' decision to go for the two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.
But after 30 minutes of a relatively routine appearance with McAfee, COVID-19 was brought up, specifically the NFL's response and protocols.
The ball was in Rodgers' hands. Rodgers could say what he wanted.
And like he previously did on the show in early November when he blasted the NFL over their "draconian" health and safety protocols after he tested positive for COVID-19, Rodgers, who is unvaccinated, didn't pass on the opportunity.
Rodgers is in 90-day window before having to test again for COVID-19
"Everything," Rodgers says, is "changing," referencing the protocols.
With the league experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak — more than 100 players tested positive last week — the NFL is now testing fully vaccinated players and tiered staff based on "strategic, targeted spot testing" as directed by the NFL's chief medical officer.
But other changes make it easier for vaccinated players who test positive to return to action if they produce a negative test and are not showing any COVID-19 symptoms, something Rodgers said is one of the "good things" the NFL is doing. All vaccinated players will also no longer be tested weekly and instead will be screened for symptoms and are required to self-report any symptoms. Rodgers expressed confusion over why COVID-19 positive players without symptoms couldn't play.
"Who are you endangering if you have zero symptoms and tested positive?" Rodgers questioned.
People who test positive for COVID-19 and don't have symptoms can still transmit the virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated players who haven't contracted COVID-19 during the last three months continue to be tested daily and have more stringent rules.
Because Rodgers tested positive Nov. 1, he remains in a 90-day window for avoiding a COVID-19 test. He won't be required to take a test until Feb. 1, two days after the NFC championship game.
Still, Rodgers steered the interview Tuesday toward what he feels has been missing during the pandemic.
"The one frustration that I have in all of this is that throughout this entire time, there hasn’t been a real conversation around health, as far as giving people things to think about like how to be healthier, as far as your diet, and vitamins and exercise," Rodgers said.
The coronavirus is a highly contagious air-borne disease that emerged in late 2019 and has killed more than 800,000 Americans and 5.36 million worldwide. Masks and social distancing were early prevention methods, while over the past year vaccines have been critical in preventing infection, hospitalizations and death, according to the CDC and medical experts.
Rodgers reiterates he talked to Joe Rogan about COVID treatments
Rodgers made headlines this season for misleading the public on his vaccination status, saying he was “immunized” when he hadn't actually received the COVID-19 vaccine and then testing positive for COVID-19 days after a Halloween party with teammates. He was fined for violating the league's health and safety policies.
During his controversial interview with McAfee Nov. 3, Rodgers said he knew he was in the "crosshairs of the woke mob" and wanted to have his say before "the final nail gets put in my canceled-culture casket."
In that same interview, Rodgers said he took ivermectin, zinc, vitamin C and monoclonal antibodies to treat his COVID-19.
"The other thing that hasn't been talked about is treatments," Rodgers said Tuesday. "I've talked to a lot of friends who had COVID, including Joe (Rogan), and figured out a protocol that I had ready in case I got COVID."
Rogan is a comedian and podcast host who often promotes unproven claims around the virus. Ivermectin has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat or prevent COVID-19. The FDA has approved it to treat infections caused by some parasites and topically for the skin disorder rosacea and head lice. In animals it is used as a de-worming treatment.
Rodgers, however, said Tuesday that because he took these treatments his symptoms were "nonexistent" within 36 hours.
"I don’t understand why society and the NFL hasn’t talked about legitimate treatment options," Rodgers said. "And monoclonal antibodies I believe is one of them."
Remdesivir is the only FDA-approved drug to treat COVID-19, though health care providers are allowed to use products that are not yet approved, or that are approved for other uses, under emergency use to treat COVID-19 patients. The FDA, for example, has issued emergency use authorization a number of investigational monoclonal antibodies that can attach to parts of the virus for people at high risk of disease progression. These antibodies could help the immune system effectively respond to COVID-19, the CDC said.
Packers' next opponent, Cleveland Browns, have had COVID outbreak
Rodgers said Tuesday during the summer nonvaccinated players were being coerced by the NFL into getting the vaccine because the league had no intention of moving games if there were outbreaks.
Three games, however, were postponed this week due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Week 15 wrapped up with two games on Tuesday.
The Packers' opponent Saturday — the Cleveland Browns — had their Week 15 game moved to Monday afternoon due to rising case counts in their organization. The Browns were down to their third-string quarterback for Monday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
"Obviously, it’s been revealed nonvaccinated players are not these dangerous superspreaders," Rodgers said. "Places like '(Saturday Night Live)' or teams that are fully vaccinated can have outbreaks."
Breakthrough cases (those who are vaccinated but still test positive) are happening, especially as new variants emerge.
But medical experts still say the vaccine is the best protection in fighting off the virus, minimizing severe symptoms and avoiding hospitalization and death. In Wisconsin, those not fully vaccinated died from COVID-19 at a rate 12 times higher than people who were fully vaccinated during November.
The virus has had multiple mutations, and now the omicron variant is spreading across the world. Omicron has become the dominant strain in the U.S. with public health officials issuing a dire warning for those who aren't vaccinated and urging those who have been vaccinated to get a COVID-19 booster shot.