Unvaxxed Aaron Rodgers and Kyrie Irving: What Is the Difference?

In Summary

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is under heavy scrutiny after it was revealed he mislead his team and others about his vaccination status. 

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving have—deservingly, depending on who you ask—received heavy criticism for their stance on the COVID-19 vaccination. 

While their overall reasons on vaccination are based on unsupported facts and resources, the optics between the two contrasting stars appear different when you compare the two under a microscope. 

What is the difference between Rodgers and Irving? Besides the obvious, of course. 

Rodgers deliberately mislead reporters and his team when he was asked straightforward if he was vaccinated. Rodgers responded, “I’m immunized.” 

After Rodgers’ “I’m immunized” statement, he went on to portray himself as a person who is vaccinated. He attended press conferences and other team activities without a mask, which is against the NFL COVID-19 protocol for an unvaccinated player. 

According to the NFL, “Rodgers received homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels and asked the NFL to review his status. The league pointed Rodgers to the NFL-NFLPA protocols, which do not account for such an exemption for players. So, Rodgers remained subject to a variety of restrictions, including daily testing, mask wearing and high-risk close contact protocol that would force him to isolate for five days based on interaction with a positive individual, even if he tested negative.” 

Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 4 and missed Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Rodgers-less Packers lost 13-7. 

Days after the news of Rodgers being unvaccinated, he made his routine appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, and led with “I’m in the cross hairs of the woke mob right now” in a highly questionable and dog-whistle rant. 

Here’s some of what Rodgers said, which was captured in a series of tweets, for those inclined not to watch the five-minute video: 

“There’s a lot to natural immunity, and natural immunity has not been part of the conversation.”

“If you’ve gotten covid, and recovered from it, that’s the best boost to immunity that we can have.” 

He also compared COVID-19 vaccination to women’s rights

“What about my body, my choice? What about making the best decision for my circumstance?” 

Rodgers also stated he received great advice from Joe Rogan: “I consulted a good friend of mine, Joe Rogan, and I’ve been doing a lot of the stuff he recommended in his podcast.” 

Rodgers said he used Ivermectin, a drug both the CDC and FDA said is ineffective against COVID-19: “Why do people hate Ivermectin? Not just because Trump championed it, but because it’s a cheap generic, and you can’t make any money off of it.” 

And to close his hellacious rant, Rodgers used a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. about segregation and compared it to his wobbly stance: 

On Oct. 13, Irving explained his stance on the NBA COVID-19 vaccination policy and expressed his displeasure for people losing their job due to a mandate in a whirlwind response from his personal Instagram account. 

RelatedKyrie Irving Gives Whirlwind Response on Bypassing Vaccine on IG Live 

He said it’s not about being anti-vaxxed, but “it’s about what feels good to me. I’m feeling uncertain … and that’s OK.” 

At least Irving, who has yet to play a single minute in the NBA this season, understands the consequences of his actions. Rodgers’ comments, actions and statements paints a picture of a man who believes the rules do not apply to him. 

“I know the consequences of the decision I make with my life,” Irving said. “It’s crazy times that we’re in. I haven’t hurt anybody. I haven’t committed a crime.” 

However, Irving, too, has made questionable decisions in his statements, leading to a mob attempting to storm the Barclays Center. 

Related: Protesters Storm Brooklyn Nets Arena to Support Unvaccinated Kyrie 

A report in a Rolling Stones article was one of the many irrefutable fuses ignited by Irving.   

Here is an excerpt from the article:   

Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.   

While arguably and equally problematic, Irving’s stance is based on his principles. Irving was not misleading. Irving did not lie. Irving has drawn a line in the sand and so did his employer, which is why he has not played this season. 

Irving did not put his team in danger.  

“It’s about choosing what’s best for you,” Irving said. “You think I really want to lose money? You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship? You think I really just want to give up my job?” 

Even if Irving’s stance is muddy in his principle, Irving made his intent clear. 

Rodgers has lost an endorsement with a health care group, but he is not subjected to any suspension, only fines towards him and the Packers. 

Rodgers said he did not expect the criticism after the ill-informed rant. The obvious difference between him and Irving is the reason why. 

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