NFL star Rodgers hits out at Biden amid vaccine row
Rodgers, whose Packers team are the bookies' favorites to win next month's Super Bowl, was the recipient of widespread criticism late last year after admitting that he was unvaccinated against Covid-19 despite telling reporters some months prior that he was "immunized" against the virus.
This led to a fine issued by the NFL - but also to Rodgers being seen by some as something on an anti-vaxx pariah, especially after he revealed that he had treated a Covid infection with a host of alternative remedies championed by podcast host Joe Rogan.
Such was the outrage in some quarters against Rodgers that it even reached the highest levels of government in the United States, with Biden saying to a Packers fan in December while surveying damage from a Tornado in Kentucky: "Tell that quarterback he's gotta get the vaccine."
These words clearly festered with Rodgers and, over month later, he issued his reply as part of a wide-ranging interview with ESPN ahead of the Packers' playoff fixture with the San Francisco 49ers late on Saturday night, or early on Sunday depending on your timezone.
"When the president of the United States says, 'This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,' it's because him and his constituents, which, I don't know how there are any if you watch any of his attempts at public speaking, but I guess he got 81 million votes," Rodgers opined.
"But when you say stuff like that, and then you have the CDC, which, how do you even trust them, but then they come out and talk about 75% of the Covid deaths have at least four comorbidities. And you still have this fake White House set saying that this is the pandemic of the unvaccinated, that's not helping the conversation."
It should perhaps be noted that a Reuters fact-check of the above statement concluded that the statistics quoted by Rodgers were for vaccinated individuals, with just 36 vaccinated people from a pool of more than 1.2 million people dying - with 78% of those having four or more comorbidities.
Nonetheless, Rodgers also cited the backlash from Rogan's podcast with Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist involved with the development of mRNA technology who has been banned from various social media platforms for his outspoken views, as evidence that opinions such as those championed by Rodgers are being silenced.
"When in the course of human history has the side that's doing the censoring and trying to shut people up and make them show papers and marginalize a part of the community ever been [the correct side]?" he said.
"We're censoring dissenting opinions? What are we trying to do? Save people from being able to determine the validity on their own or to listen and to think about things and come to their own conclusion? Freedom of speech is dangerous now if it doesn't align with the mainstream narrative? That's, I think first and foremost, what I wanted people to understand, and what people should understand is that there's censorship in this country going on right now.
"Are they censoring terrorists or pedophiles? Criminals who have Twitter profiles? No, they're censoring people, and they're shadow-banning people who have dissenting opinions about vaccines. Why is that? Is that because Pfizer cleared $33 billion last year and Big Pharma has more lobbyists in Washington than senators and representatives combined? Why is the reason?
"Either way, if you want to be an open-minded person, you should hear both sides, which is why I listen to people like Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Peter McCullough. I have people on the other side as well. I read stuff on the vaccine-hesitancy side, and I read stuff on the vaccines-are-the-greatest-thing-in-the-world side.
"When you censor and make pariahs out of anybody who questions what you believe in or what the mainstream narrative is, that doesn't make any sense."