“I can be someone’s and still be my own.” — Shea Silverstein
The world of sports and politics rarely collide. That’s why I consider myself such a fan of sports. I can talk sports and follow sports without getting into a political quagmire. Then, Aaron Rodgers entered the scene last week when it was discovered that he tested positive for COVID-19 and he hadn’t been vaccinated.
Back when the season began Rodgers said he had been “immunized” and the press at the time naturally assumed that meant vaccinated. I suppose it is a natural assumption to make. Instead he took Ivermectin and considered it good. Obviously, that didn’t work and he had to sit out a game his team likely would have won with him.
Naturally, we get into the weeds when we start talking about whether he lied or whether he actually believed he was immunized. We can stay in the weeds and talk about the right to privacy as it pertains to medical decisions. Rodgers was certainly free to answer that question anyway he saw fit and we still don’t know how much the Packers knew and we don’t know if he followed protocols for unvaccinated players.
When asked a question about his status, he purposely gave a vague answer. Rodgers has since decried the whole situation and predictably he has lost at least one sponsor in the aftermath. Who knows if State Farm or other national brands will continue to go with him. Clearly, the vague answer was done to avoid a controversy at the time. Whether he lied or not is in the eye of the beholder.
However, the misdirection is telling. He clearly knew what he was doing and he clearly wanted to avoid responsibility. The line above from Shea Silverstein is unusually profound for a children’s author. The battle over vaccinations attempts to be simplistic, but things are never that simplistic. It isn’t as simple as doing what you want with your body. I know most people wish it were that simple.
In times gone by, people used to understand these innately. When you made certain decisions people understood that they came with natural consequences. If you wanted to avoid childhood vaccinations for your child you understood that meant you’d be home schooling your children. Every choice has natural consequences one way or another.
So, it isn’t so much that Rodgers wanted to take dewormer in favor of a vaccine. It’s that he knew the consequences of doing so and obviously wanted to avoid them. If you are smart enough to understand the consequences and understand that you would take a hit in public relations then you’re smart enough just to take the damn vaccine. Other athletes made the same choice and are currently not playing because of it. They at least are openly accepting the consequences of their decision.
The vaccination debate used to be a non-political debate. At least it used to run independent on left and right politics. In fact, the anti-vax crowd used to stereotypically land on the left. Somehow the party of personal responsibility has not only gone anti-vax, but the also want to shirk personal responsibility. I can still be my own person, but I belong to someone else. In this case, I belong to a society and every decision I make impacts that society. Rodgers still has a lot to learn.