Aaron Rodgers arose from his “cancel-culture casket” this afternoon to make his weekly scheduled appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. Earlier today, People magazine reported that despite Rodgers’s public snarky comments about living “in the crosshairs of a woke mob,” the Packers quarterback was actually “upset” and made “very unhappy” by the response to last week’s news that he is unvaccinated and had misled reporters about his vaccination status.
From the People story:
The source says that Rodgers “feels like he just shared his point of view, and now he’s being crucified for it.”
“He knew some people would disagree with him, but he didn’t know that it would become the s—storm it became. People who he thought were friends are turning on him,” the source tells PEOPLE.
Gee! That sucks! Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday and missed last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs as a result; he’ll have to clear protocols by Saturday in order to play against the Seahawks this Sunday.
In his latest interview, Rodgers struck the somber tone of an apology without saying anything new or especially apologetic. “I just want to start off this show by acknowledging that I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading, and to anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments,” Rodgers said. He also didn’t deny the People report. “Definitely was tested by some of the comments I heard and saw. I’m human. Stuff can definitely hurt your feelings.”
He went on to say a lot of stuff that sounded broadly correct, about the specific harms of the pandemic and the way those harms have been inequitably felt. “I’m definitely fortunate to have the type of care that I’ve been able to have. I know it’s special, and it’s helped me get through this better,” he told McAfee and whoever that guy in the third panel is. “I also know that it hasn’t been like that for everybody. I know this is a difficult time for so many people dealing with COVID, and it’s been a tough two years for a lot of people. 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, in my quarantine … I understand that people are suffering. 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 businesses, livelihoods, their way of life has been altered completely. And I empathize with those things.” He reflected on the capacity of sports to bring people together in times of adversity and said he knew others viewed him as a role model.
With that, a remorseful Rodgers, understanding that mass vaccination is desperately needed to alleviate the loss of lives and livelihoods he knows to be so difficult, proceeded to get the jab right there on the show. He welcomed Dr. Anthony Fauci into his Green Bay living room and together they marveled at the awesome power of mRNA vaccination.
I am kidding, of course. It might not actually be possible to acknowledge suffering in a less sincere way than Rodgers did, with an and yet! in the same breath. In the non-apology, he used the rhetorical trick of framing a decision—a thing he chose to do, despite the threat it poses to other people—as merely “a polarizing opinion.” The Aaron Rodgers update is there is no update. “I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about,” he said. He remains unvaccinated, a bozo, and does not plan to get the vaccine anytime soon.
The interview is not worth watching (I was on vacation last week and had to consume a queasy-making and unprecedented-for-me amount of the Pat McAfee Show to write this today) but one exchange stood out: Rodgers mentioned his consultations with doctors in one of his answers and McAfee interjected to say, “The doctors you consulted with—Dr. Joe Rogan and which other doctors?” Everything I know about this Pat McAfee guy repulses and baffles me, but you do gotta hand it to him. Good burn.