Last week a friend told me a story that should have surprised me, but unfortunately I was inured to. In fact, you could say I had been immunized to the situation.
Her friend who she had worked with frequently over the past few months, came up to her smiling and announced that he had finally “bit the bullet” and had gotten vaccinated against COVID. He had refused up to that point because of concerns he heard about, mostly from the internet. My friend was a bit shocked because the other person had previously told her that he was immunized when they first started working on a project together several months previously.
When questioned about that, he said that he was sure that she would insist on wearing masks and even working remotely from each other if he told her that he weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. He really hated wearing a mask and wanted to work together. He was immunized, just not against COVID. He had, after all, been immunized as a child against measles, mumps, chicken pox, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. He finally acknowledged that he knew he was misleading but insisted he had made a true statement.
Which brings me to future football Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers, who one-and-a-half weeks ago had to acknowledge that he wasn’t vaccinated when random testing, required under NFL rules with agreement with the Player’s Association, showed him positive for COVID. He had told people that he had been immunized but never actually said that he was vaccinated against COVID.
He has consistently stated that he felt he was in the right. He said that he made some comments that “people might have felt were misleading” and took “full responsibility” for those comments. He didn’t apologize for saying something that he must have known was misleading. He then went on to say he only wanted to discuss football and that he didn’t want to be in the middle of a political discussion.
This reminds me of Charles Barkley, who said, “I am not a role model.” Sorry, Aaron, you are a role model to thousands — if not millions — of people. You wanted to, and felt you were qualified to, replace Alex Trebek, a Canadian and American icon known for getting the facts right. Thankfully, you weren’t, or we would be going through another “Jeopardy” host scandal right now (not that that would be correct either).
Aaron Rodgers’s father said last week that he was proud of the stance his son has taken on COVID-19 vaccines, despite the widespread criticism it has drawn.
In a story in USA Today, Ed Rodgers said he supported the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s decision to pursue alternative forms of treatment in lieu of getting vaccinated. He also believes the backlash generated by his son’s statements last week had been overblown. Well, a father has to support his son.
There is a phrase that comes to mind: “man up.”
This is by no means meant to be gender-insensitive, but is a phrase that applies to anyone and means “be brave or tough enough to deal with a difficult or unpleasant situation.”
Rodgers, a three-time MVP, as does my friend’s friend above, needs to man up and admit that he intentionally deceived and acknowledge that was wrong.
I am not happy that he wouldn’t take the vaccine, but last time I looked that was still legal. But there are consequences to our decisions, and intentionally misleading is a lie. There is no other way to put it.
Dr. Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective during the COVID-19 threat. Also a village trustee, he lives in Cooperstown.