Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19, and the NFL and chattering classes of the sports commentary world are losing their minds.
They’re going crazy not because he caught an endemic virus. After all, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has COVID too, and you won’t see the media losing any sleep over that. Instead, they’re irate because Rodgers isn’t vaccinated and, more specifically, because they thought he was.
Most of their outrage hinges on an August interview when Rodgers said he’d been “immunized” in response to a reporter’s question about his vaccination status.
Mike Florio and Myles Simmons spent a nearly half-hour NBC Sports segment mouthbreathing about Rodgers’ so-called selfish lies. “People are tired, who have been vaccinated, of dealing with folks who are unvaccinated and don’t mind perpetuating this public health crisis,” Simmons preached, going on to lecture Rodgers for doing nothing to “correct the perception” that he was vaxxed and saying that he “broke” the media’s “trust.”
“When Rodgers was asked Aug. 26 about being vaccinated, he called it a ‘personal decision.’ No. A personal decision is going ahead and having that fourth piece of pizza,” whined sports columnist Nancy Armour over at USA Today. “When your ‘personal decision’ has ramifications for those around you, however, it ceases to be personal. And, make no mistake, Rodgers’ decision to not get vaccinated, and then to lie about it, has ramifications for pretty much everyone around him.”
There are a dozen more headlines peddling this cookie-cutter talking point: Aaron Rodgers lied about being vaccinated when he said he was immunized.
It’s truly an indictment of our self-important journalist class who have spent the last 24 hours butthurt about Rodgers “lying” to them but none of whom bothered with a follow-up question to understand what the quarterback meant by “immunized.” Their attempts to blame that on Rodgers for not correcting the record look desperate.
But just as nobody asked the follow-up question at the time, nobody is asking the right question now. It shouldn’t be: Why did Aaron Rodgers “lie”? It should instead be: Why does anyone think it’s appropriate to badger another individual about his personal health decisions?
In ripping Rodgers as a liar, Florio went on about how we’re a “post-truth society.” But this situation actually exposes an entirely different serious problem: the ways in which authoritarian responses to COVID-19 have transformed us into a post-privacy society.
Just today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at Biden’s direction posted rules requiring the employees of private companies with 100 or more workers to provide proof of vaccination, else the businesses face massive fines.
Long before that rule, it was remarkable how the “my body, my choice” proclivities suddenly dissipated, as journalists and employers and even perfect strangers in the grocery store deputized themselves as health interrogators. Since when is it appropriate to inquire about somebody else’s medical history because you see them without a mask? Randomly asking a woman whether she plans to kill her unborn child through abortion is unthinkable, yet any of us might be approached by any rando at any time who wants to know whether we’re vaccinated or “risking people’s lives.”
Of course, by putting himself in the limelight, an NFL star accepts the burden of the press asking personal questions. But whether they like it or not, Rodgers is free to answer them however he pleases, including deftly switching up the lingo to “immunized” when he took the homeopathic route in lieu of the traditional jab.
“If Rodgers truly believes in, say, a homeopathic remedy, then own that. Explain why he believes it’s preferable to one of the three vaccines recognized by the NFL and NFL Players Association. Enlighten us all as to what he trusts more than the advice of the world’s most renowned scientific experts and medical professionals, who say vaccination provides the best defense against COVID-19,” Armour ranted, immediately after smearing Rodgers for getting his information from a cereal box.
But Rodgers never could have come out and explained his personal medical decisions, and Armour knows it. The press and the CDC-bootlickers who defer unquestioningly to the COVID tyranny du jour aren’t interested in hearing explanations that deviate from the narrative. For proof, take a look at what has happened to Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, or Cole Beasley.
This whole ordeal isn’t about coronavirus or the science or a Pfizer shot. If it were, we would be having a very different conversation — perhaps one about vaccine efficacy among healthy populations such as athletes, who were never really at risk of dying from COVID and are still getting it after being vaccinated, or about the risks that professional athletes assume every time they take the field.
Instead, this uproar is about the moral righteousness of trusting the experts and going along with the conventional wisdom. It’s about whether you’re part of the acceptable vaccinated upper class or the selfish rube lower class.
In the eyes of the media, the Biden administration, and the health experts, people like Psaki did the “right thing” by getting the jab, so their inevitable breakthrough cases get glossed over quietly. The fate of people like green-and-gold No. 12. is different. When they test positive, we never hear the end of it.