Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said podcaster Joe Rogan helped him develop a game ahead of his COVID-19 diagnosis last year, which ultimately revealed that he had misled the public about his vaccination status.
Rodgers and Rogan have been prominent COVID-19 vaccine skeptics. The four-time NFL MVP claimed ahead of last season that he had been “immunized” against COVID-19, which was interpreted as confirmation that he was vaccinated, until he contracted COVID-19 and was forced to miss a game due to being unvaccinated.
During an appearance on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, Rodgers thanked Rogan for his advice on treating COVID-19, also noting that he appreciated hearing previous guests on the show discuss “their own ideas about COVID.”
“I really appreciate you and you helping me out during that time,” Rodgers told Rogan on Saturday’s episode, saying that he reached out to the podcast host about COVID at the start of the last season.
“And you know, you helped me with…a game plan to be ready in case I did get COVID. And I followed it to a tee and when I got COVID, you know within 36 hours I was, you know, symptom-free and feeling amazing,” Rodgers said.
Rogan and Spotify, which has an exclusive deal to distribute his podcast, faced fierce backlash earlier this year for spreading disinformation on COVID-19 and vaccines. Spotify added a warning to some episodes, but did not remove them.
Rodgers also told Rogan that he calculated his now infamous “immunized” response to the media last season, saying that he didn’t want to dodge the question because it would have conveyed that he wasn’t vaccinated.
“I thought there’s a possibility that I say, ‘I’m immunized,’ maybe they understand what that means, maybe they don’t. Maybe they follow up. They didn’t follow up,” Rodgers added. “So then I go [into] the season, them thinking, some of them, that I was vaccinated.”
When the media did follow up with questions suggesting they interpreted the response as Rodgers being vaccinated, asking what he thought about unvaccinated teammates, Rodgers responded that he had no judgement about what others did with their bodies.
“But I knew at some point if I contracted COVID, or if word got out, because it’s the NFL and there’s leaks everywhere, it was possible I’d have to answer the questions,” he said.
“And then sure enough, I contract COVID…and that’s when the shit storm hit. Because now I’m a liar and I’m endangering the community, my teammates, all these people, and you know, the attempted take down of me and my word and my integrity began.”