As the NFL investigation into whether or not the Green Bay Packers and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers broke COVID-19 protocols, the league is already facing questions about potential discipline and unfair standards in enforcement of protocols.
Rodgers, who tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday morning, was immediately ruled out and placed into a 10-day quarantine. It’s the standard requirement for unvaccinated players under the NFL’s COVID-19 guidelines, but potential violations of those protocols have put Rodgers, the NFL and the Packers under scrutiny.
While Rodgers reportedly wore a mask around the facility, he admitted during Friday’s interview on the “Pat McAfee Show” that he went against NFL safety guidelines by not wearing a mask during press conferences with reporters. He also attended a Halloween party with many teammates, which violates league rules for unvaccinated players.
The NFL’s investigation is going but Rodgers will not face a suspension, regardless of the results. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the All-Pro quarterback is only subject to potential fines from the team and league office for his COVID-19 protocol violations.
- Aaron Rodgers stats (2021): 1,894 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, 105.7 passer rating
Rodgers went after the league’s rules, especially the requirement that unvaccinated players must wear a mask during a press conference. He also said an NFL doctor he spoke to told him that vaccinated persons can’t catch or transmit the virus, a claim the league emphatically denied.
Coaches, NFL executives unhappy over Aaron Rodgers’ protocol violations
While the league’s investigation must determine what rules Rodgers violated and how often he did so, coaches and executives around the league are already taking issue with him and the Packers.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter wrote Sunday that coaches and front-office executives complained to the NFL about the uneven standards they dealt with compared to the Packers.
One team employee shared that a league memo indicated any individual on the sideline who is unvaccinated must be required to wear masks at all times. While a majority of teams followed the guidelines to the letter, Rodgers was spotted maskless as an inactive player during the preseason.
“That’s B.S. … What’s going on in Green Bay, that’s not what teams were told by the NFL. Our players wore masks all the time. We made our guys that weren’t playing wear masks.”Anonymous NFL executive on Aaron Rodgers’ COVID-19 protocol violations, uneven NFL standars, per Adam Schefter
The NFL will conduct a thorough investigation with a big spotlight on the matter and teams wanting both the star quarterback and a storied franchise to be disciplined for their disregard of NFL rules. Given Rodgers already admitted to violating league rules, a fine is a certainty. But the Packers’ complicity in his actions could also warrant significant penalties.