Did the NFL know that unvaccinated Aaron Rodgers was breaking COVID-19 protocols?

The NFL announced Wednesday that it will review the Packers’ application of the league’s COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players following Aaron Rodgers’ positive test for the disease.

The league, in a statement obtained by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, said the responsibility for enforcing league-mandated protocols rests with the teams. He also added that failure to properly enforce said protocols has resulted in disciplinary action against other clubs in the past.

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“Primary responsibility for enforcing COVID protocols at club facilities rests with each club,” the NFL said. “Failure to properly apply protocols has resulted in the assessment of discipline against individual clubs in the past. The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will review the matter with the Packers.”

In late August, Rodgers said he was “immune” when asked if he was vaccinated. His wording at the time seemed to suggest he was vaccinated against COVID-19, but his positive test and subsequent 10-day isolation period, revealed on Wednesday, indicate that was not the case. He will be out of action until at least Nov. 13, the day before the Seahawks host the Packers.

It should also be noted that the league appears to be aware of Rodgers’ unvaccinated status, given that he requested – and was denied – an exemption from the league’s COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players.

According to a NFL.com report, he allegedly received homeopathic treatment from his personal physician to raise his antibody levels, basing his claim for exemption on this. The NFLPA, the league and an infectious disease consultant all agreed that the treatment did not provide documented protection against the disease and still consider him unvaccinated.

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USA today provided a list of warrants regarding unvaccinated players, of which at least one Rodgers appears to have violated by travel with the Packers on the team charter. From the United States today:

  • Unvaccinated players are not permitted to travel with the team charter, even with a religious or medical exemption, and must travel separately. They must also take a COVID-19 test to join the travel party and must then test themselves daily during car journeys. They can’t eat in the cafeteria. All players, regardless of their vaccination status, wear a mask when traveling by plane and on buses.

A report of madison.com says Rodgers followed NFL COVID protocols for unvaccinated players while at the team facility, including wearing a mask around coaches and teammates. But he was also seen speaking with the media in person without a mask.

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the Titans, Raiders, Saints and Patriots were all fined for not following the protocols in 2020, respectively. Las Vegas also nearly lost a sixth-round pick due to NFL discipline, but kept it on appeal.

The league must now determine the extent to which Rodgers violated protocols due to his unvaccinated status, whether the Packers knew about the situation and how much to fine both sides as a result.

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