The NFL punished Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday, fining the unvaccinated quarterback $14,650 for breaking several rules.
The league gave a stiffer fine of $300,000 to the team for not enforcing the protocols, after news surfaced that the reigning MVP lied about his vaccination status for half of the season.
Rodgers, who is expected to make $21.5 million this year, tested positive for COVID-19 on November 3 after telling reporters during training camp in August that he was ‘immunized.’
Rodgers was fined for not wearing masks at press conferences, not wearing masks at all times around his teammates and for attending a team Halloween party even though unvaccinated players are not allowed to gather in groups.
Aaron Rodgers, pictured on Tuesday appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, was fined $14,650 – a barely-noticeable sum for someone who is on track to earn $21 million this year
Rodgers, the reigning MVP, has been quarantining at home but will return to the team one day before they face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday
Aaron Rodgers, (pictured) who missed the Packers’ game after it was revealed he tested positive for COVID and is unvaccinated
Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard was also fined $14,650 after attending the Halloween bash. Lazard is not thought to have tested positive for COVID, but was told to quarantine after coming into contact with someone who did – potentially Rodgers – at the party.
The Packers were hit with the fines following an investigation by the league, which determined the team should have disciplined Rodgers, who violated the protocol that bars unvaccinated players from gathering in groups of more than three outside the team’s facilities.
The amount of Rodgers’ fine was determined by the COVID-19 protocol agreement reached between the players’ union and the league.
The league’s investigation also discovered instances where Rodgers did not wear face coverings inside the Packers’ facility.
Rodgers is pictured in April 2019 with then-girlfriend Danica Patrick, a motor racing driver. He is now engaged to actress Shailene Woodley
There are several reasons Rodgers is unvaccinated, he said, including the likelihood that he and his fiancee, actress Shailene Woodley (left), would try to have children some day
The protocols for unvaccinated players remain largely the same as they were for everyone during the 2020 season. The difference now, since the release of several vaccines, is that players who have gotten the injections are free from certain testing, distancing, and mask protocols. Unvaccinated players, however, need to distance, wear masks, and get daily tests
‘We respect the league’s findings and we recognize the importance of adherence to the Covid protocols to keep our team and organization safe and healthy,’ Packers president Mark Murphy told ESPN.
‘We will continue to educate the team regarding the importance of the protocols and remain committed to operating within the protocols.’
The probe started last week after Rodgers tested positive for the coronavirus, having lied to reporters about being vaccinated.
Rodgers, who is in the second year of a four-year contract extension worth $134 million, is eligible to return to the first-place team one day before they face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Rodgers sparked widespread anger with the revelation that he had lied about being vaccinated, and with accusations that he had put other people at risk.
Rodgers then poured fuel on the fire, saying that he was a ‘victim’ of a ‘woke mob’ who criticized him for choosing not to get vaccinated.
Rodgers has maintained that he is not ‘anti-vax’ in general but that it wasn’t the right decision for him, adding how he believes he is in the ‘crosshairs of the woke mob right now.’
On Tuesday, however, he moderated his tone and apologized for his ‘misleading’ comments.
‘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,’ Rodgers told The Pat McAfee Show.
‘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.’
He added: ‘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 that felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments.’