EXPLAINER: Rodgers and how the NFL's COVID-19 protocols
November 5, 2021
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will miss Sunday's game at Kansas City after being placed in the NFL's COVID-19 protocol. Because he is unvaccinated, he must stay isolated for at least 10 days.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is shown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in the NFLs COVID-19 protocol and will miss Sundays game at Kansas City. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur confirmed Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, that Rodgers was in the protocol, but would not say if Rodgers had tested positive nor if the reigning NFL MVP has been vaccinated. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)© Provided by Associated Press Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is shown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in the NFLs COVID-19 protocol and will miss Sundays game at Kansas City. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur confirmed Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, that Rodgers was in the protocol, but would not say if Rodgers had tested positive nor if the reigning NFL MVP has been vaccinated. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Heres an explanation of the NFLs protocols and a breakdown of Rodgers case:
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING A PLAYER'S VACCINE STATUS?
Each of the 32 NFL teams. Players must submit proof of vaccination to the team, not to the league office.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT VACCINATION?
Players must take two shots of one of the approved vaccinations under NFL protocols Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson. As Dr. Allen Sills, the leagues chief medical officer, has explained, players who have been previously documented with having had COVID-19 could be considered protected with one shot of those vaccines.
Theres also the possibility of a player having antibody levels that show a previous case of the coronavirus, and they can receive one shot to be protected.
We have very clear protocols on vaccination requirements and what can be considered as being fully vaccinated under those protocols, Sills said.
NFL protocols, created in conjunction with the players' union, oversee not only team facilities but also stadiums, hotels and any travel arrangements.
DID THE NFL KNOW AARON RODGERS WAS UNVACCINATED?
Yes, as did the Packers and the NFL Players Association.
Rodgers, who says he has an allergy to an ingredient in two of the vaccines, approached the NFLPA during the summer seeking approval of the treatment he took, details of which have not been made public. Dr. Thom Mayer, the union's medical director, consulted with Sills and with infectious disease consultants jointly agreed upon by the NFL and the union. They determined that Rodgers' treatment did not meet the qualifications or protocols to be considered a vaccine.
Rodgers has been required to wear a mask at the Packers' facility and to follow protocols designed for unvaccinated players. He is one of about 5% of the league's players considered unvaccinated.
WILL ANYONE BE PENALIZED?
Very likely if the NFL's investigation, which also includes looking into a Halloween party attended by Rodgers finds violations of the protocols.
Most responsible would be the Packers for not eliminating any violations. They could be fined and stripped of draft choices. For example, the Las Vegas Raiders were fined $500,000 last year when there were no vaccinations available for breaking protocols. But no teams lost picks in the 2021 draft for COVID-19 violations.
Rodgers, naturally, could be sanctioned by the NFL, too. That probably would involve a fine rather than a suspension.
Sills has been very clear that enforcement of the protocols is serious business.
Rodgers is lucky they are not trying to enforce parts of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.