Aaron Rodgers Rejects 'Endangerment to Society' Jibes Over Vaccine Stance

Aaron Rodgers has spoken out against accusations that he was an "endangerment to society" over his refusal to take the COVID vaccine.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback, 38, faced criticism late in 2021 when, after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, he revealed that he had not been vaccinated as he expressed skepticism about the vaccine's efficacy.

His comments were all the more controversial because he told reporters back in August 2021 that he had been immunized against COVID-19, though he didn't detail how. He isolated for 10 days in November 2021 after testing positive for COVID-19.

Rodgers has addressed the controversy, rejecting the tag that he says was applied to him while also insisting that he adhered to stringent protocols during the pandemic.

Aaron Rodgers is pictured main on July 19, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. He is pictured inset on January 22, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Rodgers has hit out at accusations that he was an "endangerment to society" over his COVID vaccine stance.Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic;/Quinn Harris/Getty Images

During an appearance on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast, the sportsman spoke about how his opinion on the vaccine had been greatly politicized, saying: "I apologize if that ever seemed like my desire or my impetus behind it."

Explaining how his stance came to be a part of the public conversation, he went on: "I got COVID, I had to talk about it, you know, and I shared my opinion. People thought that I was lying... There was a million stories out there, that I was an endangerment to society, and I'll definitely address that right now.

"Every single day that you saw me—and I'm talking to Green Bay people, because that's where I was—you might have seen me in Barnes & Noble looking at a book, [or] telling the good people there was the next book club book was going to be so they could be stocked up. Or at the grocery store.

"Every single day you saw me, I had tested negative that morning—every single day. Our protocol was, for non-vaccinated players, every day before 9 a.m. you tested for COVID. Every single day that you saw me, I was COVID negative. Every single day.

"I didn't endanger anybody. I take my health and the health of everybody around me very seriously. So I do want to dispel that rumor."

He continued: "When I did test positive, I called our head trainer that morning. I said, 'I'm not feeling good.' I went into the stadium, I tested, I sat in my car and waited for the results like I did every other day. I tested positive and I went home. I started my protocol to feel better, and I didn't see anybody for 10 days. That's what happened."

Elsewhere in the interview, NFL star Rodgers spoke about how he was viewed by each side of the political aisle after revealing his position on the vaccine.

"All the right was like, 'He's our champion now' and all the left was, 'He's the enemy,'" he said. "Look, politics is a sham first of all, I think. And I wouldn't do CNN just like I wouldn't do Fox News. I have no desire to be a part of this.

"I'm sharing a personal opinion, based on my own health and what I think is best for my body. You can disagree with it all you want. You can agree with it and champion it. But I'm not saying it to gain favor with one side and hate from the other.

"I mean, actually, my opinion became very polarizing because people feel strongly on both sides about it. But I hope at the bare minimum that there was conversation that could be had—civil conversation. And if you still disagree, then it's OK to disagree. But we've taken out I think in our society a lot of that ability to have differing opinions."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is pictured on on January 22, 2022, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The sportsman has weathered a storm of controversy since sharing his opinion on the COVID vaccine.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

In 2021, when Rodgers spoke about his reluctance to take the COVID vaccine, he said that it could stand to affect his fertility, though he didn't cite any studies to support that particular theory.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no clinical research has linked any of the vaccines approved for use in the U.S. to male infertility.

While the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been linked to cases of blood clots in adult women younger than 50, the CDC has stated that blood clots in male vaccine recipients are rare.

According to an Oxford University study published in August 2021, the risk of developing blood clots is "substantially higher" from COVID-19 infections than from any possible side effects of taking the vaccine.

After testing positive for COVID, Rodgers said that he had been taking the anti-malaria medication hydroxychloroquine and the anti-parasite medication ivermectin to treat his symptoms. According to medical authorities, neither medication has any proven effect on alleviating COVID symptoms.

During another appearance on SiriusXM Radio's The Pat McAfee Show in November 2021, Rodgers said: "I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading and to anyone who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments."

In November, the NFLfined the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers and his teammate Allen Lazard, for violating COVID-19 protocols. The Packers organization was ordered to pay $300,000, while Rodgers and Lazard were fined $14,650.