Pat McAfee, Aaron Rodgers, and A.J. Hawk.

After reports emerged this week of Aaron Rodgers being unvaccinated and being out for 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19, there have been a lot of discussions about Rodgers being “furious” about his status being released. Rodgers went on The Pat McAfee Show (with McAfee and co-host A.J. Hawk, on Sirius XM and YouTube) show Friday to address that, and he gave a whole lot of quotes about this. He said he’s allergic to an ingredient in mRNA vaccines, he “didn’t lie” with his “I’m immunized” response to a question about if he was vaccinated, he’s been taking health advice from Joe Rogan, he’s been taking ivermectin, and more. He also referenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with “The great MLK said you have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense.” Here’s the whole video of the show, with Rodgers’ appearance starting about an hour and seven minutes in:

Here’s our transcription of this:

“I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now, so before the final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I think I’d like to set the record straight on some of the blatant lies that are out there about myself right now, and I appreciate the opportunity to tell my side of the story on here.”

“First of all, I didn’t lie in the initial press conference. During that time, it was a very, you know, witch hunt that was going on across the league, where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn’t and what that meant and who was being selfish and who wouldn’t talk about it and what it meant if they said it was a personal decision and they shouldn’t have to disclose their own medical information and what not. And at the time, my plan was to say that I had been immunized. It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie, it was the truth. I’ll get into the whole immunization in a second, but had there been a follow-up to my statement that I had been immunized, I would have responded with this.”

“I would have said ‘Look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax, flat-earther, I’m somebody who’s a critical thinker. You guys know me, I march to the beat of my own drum. I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your own body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something. Health is not a one size fits all for everybody.”

“And for me, it involved a lot of study in the offseason, much like the study I put into hosting Jeopardy!, or the weekly study I put into playing the game. I put a lot of time and energy and research into this and met with a lot of different people from the medical field to get the most information about the vaccines before making a decision. In actuality, it was pretty easy to eliminate two of them, and it didn’t involve going into the questionable history of some of their criminal activities, some fraud cases, or any of that stuff. It was simply the fact that I have an allergy to an ingredient that’s in the mRNA vaccines.”

“On the CDC’s own website, it says ‘Should you have an allergy to any of the ingredients, you should not get one of the mRNA vaccines.’ So those two are out, immediately. So my only option was the Johnson and Johnson. At this time, in the early spring, I had heard of multiple people who had had adverse effects to getting the J&J. Nothing that was, no deaths or anything, but just some really difficult times and physical abnormalities around the J&J shot. And then in mid-April, the J&J shot got pulled for clotting issues, if you remember that, right? So the J&J shot was not even an option at that point.”

(Note: the CDC recommended J&J again beginning April 23, following an 11-day pause, and currently recommends it.)

“So then the options became ‘What can I do to protect myself and my teammates if there’s not the big three options for me and my own body?’ So I looked into, and talked again to a lot of medical individuals, professionals, and found that there was an immunization protocol that I could go to to best protect myself and my teammates. It was a long-term protocol that involved, you know, multiple months. And I’m very proud of the research that went into that and the individuals I met with and what was best for me.”

“It was not something that the league didn’t know about. The league was fully aware of it upon my return to the Packers. And it was at that point that I petitioned them to accept my immunization status under their vaccination protocol. Now, at the time, they had only had the big three as what they were going to do, and if you weren’t in the vaccinated category, you were in a different category, which involved some draconian measures and protocols that you had to adhere to, which in my opinion were not based in science and were more in a shame-based environment to try and get as many guys to get vaccinated as possible so the league looks better to the rest of the world. That was the focus of these, you know,  protocols, which I’ll get into when I finish this diatribe about the petition.”

“So I petitioned the league. Initially, they returned and said ‘No, you’ll be in the unvaccinated category.’ And I also said ‘How come there’s no exemptions for medical exemptions, religious exemptions, pre-existing conditions?’ They basically said ‘Those are all basically exempted, but you would be put in the non-vaccinated category.’ I’ll get into what that meant from a scheduling standpoint shortly. But there wasn’t any way of getting around that, in their minds.”

“So after they came back and said ‘No, you’re unvaxxed,’ I said ‘Okay, I’m going to appeal this. So we went through the process, which was a multi-week process, where I asked them for time to gather information. I gathered over 500 pages of research on the efficacy of immunizations, all the latest research surrounding my case, everything from mask-wearing to the efficacy of vaccines and the duration of the antibodies. Just all the latest research, right, that I was getting from my medical team.”

“In that process, we had many conversations. I enjoyed the conversations with the league, it was good sharing. But one in particular stood out when I knew I was not going to win this. I had a meeting, and one of the main docs said ‘It’s impossible for a vaccinated person to get COVID or spread COVID.’ And at that point, I knew I was definitely not going to win the appeal. And it was very shortly after that denied. And we know now that information is totally false that was given to me.”

Note: The NFL has strongly denied that a doctor from the league even talked to Rodgers, much less said this:

More from Rodgers:

“My desire to immunize myself was what’s best for my body. And that’s why this is so important to me. My medical team informed me that the danger of an adverse effect was greater than the risk of getting COVID and recovering. So I made a decision that was in the best interests of my body.”

“I’m not telling somebody to not get vaccinated or to get vaccinated. I think you should do what’s in the best interests of your body. If you’re scared of COVID, or if you have co-morbidities, getting vaxxed is probably in your best interests. But if you have an immunocompromised system or if you have pre-existing conditions, then make the decision that’s in your best interests. And that’s what I did, I made the decision that was in my best interests.”

“The other part of it was, and I’ve talked about this on the show before, but the next great chapter in my life, I believe, is being a father. It’s something I care about a lot. And to my knowledge, there’s been zero long-term studies around sterility or fertility issues around the vaccines.”

(Note: The discussion of “sterility or fertility issues around the vaccines” has become common lately, with former ESPN personality Allison Williams one of the many bringing that up. Here’s what the CDC has to say about that:

CDC and Medical Professionals Recommend COVID-19 Vaccination for People Who Want to Have Children

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners.

Professional medical organizations serving people of reproductive age, including adolescents, emphasize that there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes a loss of fertility. These organizations also recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people who may consider getting pregnant in the future.

Professional societies for male reproduction recommend that men who want to have babies in the future be offered COVID-19 vaccination. There is no evidence that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause male fertility problems.

And as per the “zero long-term studies,” yes, there have not been “long-term studies” on these COVID-19 vaccines, given that the specific virus they were created to respond to didn’t exist before 2019. But mRNA technology is not new, and has been the subject of numerous long-term studies. The concerns about infertility originated with social media misinformation comparing a COVID-19 spike protein to a different protein with a similar name, as per Johns Hopkins. Here’s more on that particular social media misinformation from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, which says that the concern here “was a theoretical risk that was completely disproven in the clinical trials and continues to be disproven in real time as more women of child-bearing age become fully vaccinated.” Similar pieces can be found on many local hospitals’ sites. That Henry Ford Health System piece also has more on mRNA reproductive studies:

The mechanism used to create the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines—called mRNA technology—is not new. It has been used widely for decades in different treatments, so there is plenty of data on the use of mRNA technology and fertility. And with the COVID-19 vaccines, specifically, research shows there are no adverse outcomes or safety issues in connection with reproductive health.)

Read on for Rodgers’ comments on the NFL protocols, including his claims that “non-vaccinated people are the safest people in the building” and “this idea that it’s a pandemic of the unvaxxed is just a total lie.”

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.