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8 Jan, 2022 18:37

Vaccine holdout Rodgers addresses Super Bowl rumors

An NFL insider claimed that Rodgers would boycott this year's Super Bowl as a protest against the league's Covid-19 rules
Vaccine holdout Rodgers addresses Super Bowl rumors

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers has responded to reports from an NFL insider that he could boycott this year's Super Bowl should his team make the league's showpiece game next month.

Reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Rodgers, who ignited a media frenzy in recent weeks when it emerged that he was unvaccinated against Covid-19 despite previously telling reporters in August that he was "immunized" against the virus, has been one of the harshest critics of the league's protocols designed to mitigate the spread of the virus. But reports that he will voluntarily miss the opportunity to win what would be the veteran quarterback's second ever Super Bowl are "fake news", according to the Packers icon.

Rodgers contracted Covid in November and later issued a tongue-lashing to the "woke mob" who urged him to get vaccinated, before apologizing for his "misleading" comments.

The 38-year-old was subsequently fined by the NFL for endangering the health of his teammates and coaching staff.

The situation clearly still does not sit well with one of the league's most outspoken mouthpieces, coming to a head late on Friday when Rodgers addressed a rumor disseminated by retired player-turned-analyst Boomer Esiason in which he said he had received insider information that Rodgers was considering skipping the Super Bowl as a protest against the league's strong-arm Covid tactics. 

"The Rodgers saga continues to get crazier and crazier," the text message received by Esiason from what he called a 'reliable source' stated, as read out on the air by his broadcast colleague Gregg Giannotti.

"I've been told by multiple people in Aaron's direct circle that if the Packers make the Super Bowl he will use the week leading up to the Super Bowl to prove a major point.

"He will threaten the NFL by saying he won't play in the big game or next season if they don't eliminate some of the Covid-related rules.

"One big one that upsets him the most is the testing of non-symptomatic players. He's told [backup quarterback] Jordan Love to be ready.

"Like you said, he's got to make [the Super Bowl] first but Super Bowl week will be set on fire and send [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell in a frenzy [in] navigating the situation."

Rodgers' response, though, pushed back on the rumors about Super Bowl LVI, which is scheduled for February 13 at the SoFi Stadium in California.

"'He's told Jordan Love to be ready,'" Rodgers tweeted, along with a string of laughing emojis.

Rodgers then added a torrent of hashtags, including 'fake news', 'dumbest f*cking story ever', 'boycott fake news' and even, quite oddly, 'boycott waterfalls'.

NFL veteran Rodgers, who agitated for a trade away from Green Bay in the offseason, has again been exemplary this season as his team recorded a 13-3 record in the league for the third season running.

However, for the first time this NFL season has one extra game which comes on Sunday against the underperforming Detroit Lions, where his Packers team are expected to cement their status as the first seeds in the National Football Conference.

Rodgers was fined a total of $14,650 for his Covid mishap earlier in the season. Publicly available information suggests that he is to earn at least $21.5 million this year.

The 38-year-old elaborated on his vaccine thoughts to radio host Pat McAfee, saying that he didn't consider himself to be against vaccinations but that the various Covid-19 options weren't for him. 

"I know this is a difficult time for so many people dealing with Covid. It's been a tough two years for a lot of people," he said to McAfee in 2021 after his headline-grabbing Covid drama.

"This has definitely been a time of a lot of reflection. I've had time to think about a lot of things in my silence here.

"I understand that people are suffering and that this has been a really difficult time for the last two years on so many people. 

"I think we all know individuals who have lost their lives personally, people who have lost their business, their livelihoods.

"Their way of life has been altered completely and I empathize with those things.

"And I also know how sports can be such a connector and bring people together during times of adversity, and I do realize I am a role model to a lot of people, and so I just wanted to start out the show by acknowledging that I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading. 

"To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for [them]."

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