The NFL on Wednesday announced it would review the Packers' enforcement of league COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players following Aaron Rodgers' positive test for the disease.
The league, in a statement obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, said the onus of enforcing league-mandated protocols fell on teams. It also added that failure to properly enforce said protocols had resulted in discipline against other clubs in the past.
“The primary responsibility for enforcement of the COVID protocols within club facilities rests with each club,” the NFL said. “Failure to properly enforce the protocols has resulted in discipline being assessed against individual clubs in the past. The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will be reviewing the matter with the Packers.”
Rodgers in late August said he was “immunized” when asked whether he was vaccinated. His phrasing at the time seemed to suggest he was vaccinated against COVID-19, but his positive test and ensuing 10-day isolation period, revealed on Wednesday, indicates that was not the case. He will be out of action until at least Nov. 13, the day before the Packers host the visiting Seahawks.
It’s also worth noting the league appeared to know of Rodgers' unvaccinated status, considering he applied for — and was denied — an exemption from league COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players.
According to a report from NFL.com, he reportedly received homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels, basing his exemption request on that. The NFLPA , league and an infectious disease consultant all agreed the treatment did not provide documentable protection from the disease, and still considered him unvaccinated.
- Unvaccinated players are not permitted to travel on the team charter, even with a religious or medical exemption, and must travel separately. They also must pass a COVID-19 test to rejoin the traveling party and must test daily thereafter during road trips. They cannot eat in the cafeteria. All players, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask during air travel and on buses.
A report from Madison.com indicates Rodgers followed NFL COVID protocols for unvaccinated players while in the team facility, including wearing a mask around coaches and teammates. But he also has been seen speaking with media in person without a mask.
The Titans, Raiders, Saints and Patriots all faced fines for failure to enforce protocols in 2020, respectively. Las Vegas also nearly lost a sixth-round pick as a result of NFL discipline, but kept it on appeal.
The league must now determine to what extent Rodgers violated protocols as a result of his unvaccinated status, whether the Packers were aware of the situation and how much to fine both parties as a result.