Aaron Rodgers fined by NFL for not following COVID-19 protocols
The NFL has fined quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for violating COVID-19 protocols, days after news broke that the star player is unvaccinated.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday evening that the Packers were fined $300,000 and that Rodgers and his teammate Allen Lazard were each fined $14,650 for attending a Halloween party while unvaccinated.
Players who have not received the jab are not permitted to gather outside of the club facility in groups of more than three players, McCarthy noted.
The team was notified of the fines Tuesday evening, after the NFL finished its review. They were also told that future violations could lead to escalated discipline, including a change of draft position or a loss of draft choices, according to McCarthy.
Additionally, he said the players were told that subsequent violations could result in more disciplinary action.
“The Club was fully cooperative in the investigation into violations of the collectively bargained NFL-NFLPA protocols,” McCarthy said.
The fines come after news broke that Rodgers, the star quarterback for the Wisconsin franchise, has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, despite saying in August that he has “been immunized.”
Rodgers tested positive for the virus last week.
He has since recognized that his comments may have been “misleading” to some individuals, adding, “To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments.”
Rodgers has already faced backlash over the incident. Wisconsin-based health organization Prevea Health said its partnership with Rodgers would be terminating, following the news of his vaccination status.
Insurance company State Farm, however, is standing by the quarterback, calling him a “great ambassador” and writing in a statement “we respect his right to have his own personal point of view.”
McCarthy listed a number of instances when the Packers “failed to strictly enforce” COVID-19 protocols, including when Rodgers failed to wear a mask at press conferences.
Additionally, he said the league examined “substantial video from club facility” which showed “a few isolated instances of Rodgers and Allen Lazard failing to wear a mask,” noting, however, that they were “substantially compliant otherwise.”
“There was no widespread or systemic mask-wearing violations,” he added.
He also said the team knew the Halloween party took place but did not discipline Rodgers or Lazard for attending, and failed to report the violations to the league. He noted, however, that the Packers franchise did not sanction the gathering.
Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy told The Hill in a statement that the team remains committed to abiding by the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
“We respect the League’s findings and we recognize the importance of adherence to the COVID protocols to keep our team and organization safe and healthy. We will continue to educate the team regarding the importance of the protocols and remain committed to operating within the protocols,” Murphy said.
— Updated Wednesday at 10:11 a.m.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.