Aaron Rodgers Gets Tangled In Self-Weaved Web Of Deceit

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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44 Responses

  1. Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Contra Burt’s hypothetical, everything I have read suggests that the Packers organization was fully aware of his status. And that out of sight of public and press — which is where the NFL protocols apply — they and Rodgers were fully compliant. More of a case of their future Hall of Fame quarterback wanted to deceive the public, and the employer went along.Report

  2. InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I find this just hilarious. I’m sure Shailene has him on the crunchiest regimen possible. Nothing beats covid like having your aura in tune with the universe. He just forgot the only time it doesn’t work is when Scorpio is rising.Report

  3. InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    And for the record the Redskins crushed Green Bay in the game pictured. I recall it specifically because I watched it in my favorite local pizza joint while my at the time 1 year old son cheered every time they rang the bell for an order coming out.Report

  4. CJColucci
    Ignored
    says:

    One of my former bosses, now deceased, made his biggest splash in the legal profession in a case called U.S. v. Bronston. Bronston was prosecuted for perjury in grand jury testimony and convicted. The somewhat simplified testimony was as follows:

    Prosecutor: Do you have any Swiss bank accounts? [Note–he did]
    Bronston: My companies do. [Note–this is true, his companies did, but so did he]
    Prosecutor: [Moving on to another topic…]

    Eventually, the feds found out he did have personal Swiss bank accounts. He was indicted for perjury and convicted. It was perfectly clear that his answer was unresponsive to the question and intended to deceive and this was thought to be enough.
    The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which held that a literally true statement, facially unresponsive to the question asked, cannot be perjury even assuming that the answer was intended to deceive. Precisely because the answer was facially unresponsive, it was on the prosecutor to follow up and ask: “Mr. Bronston, do you, personally, have any Swiss bank accounts? Not your companies. You.” Bronston probably would have lied because that was the kind of guy he was, and a perjury prosecution and conviction would have been righteous.

    I bring this up because I couldn’t help wondering whether Rodgers’s answer, if given under oath, would be perjurious or whether it would have been subject to a Bronston defense.Report

    • JS in reply to CJColucci
      Ignored
      says:

      I always thought one problem with cases involving lawyers (that is where lawyers are defendants or otherwise not in their usual role of “at work”) is that, well, you’re running a risk of “Letter of the question, not the spirit” sort of answers.

      Bill Clinton, rather famously, did this. Worse yet, the prosecutor had previously nailed down the definition of ‘sexual intercourse’ and it didn’t include oral, so he wasn’t even being that clever.

      In short, I always thought word games and lawyers went hand-in-hand when it came to questioning people under oath.Report

      • CJColucci in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        As Kinky Friedman once said: “Eating ain’t cheating.” I’m sure it wasn’t original with him and that Bill Clinton was familiar with the concept.Report

  5. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    Once again we have a “Do as I say not as I do” situation with a famous person who thinks deception in service of a media image is the way to go. I shall begin popping popcorn and begin waiting for the Conservative Rage Machine run by the Party of Personal Responsibility to tear into him for this assault on the truth . . . .Report

  6. Kazzy
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    says:

    “The second part, and the part that enables the first, is sports media is utterly dependent on access journalism these days to stay ahead of the constant news cycles and the insatiable desire of fans to have “insider” information.”

    I think this is slightly inaccurate, as NFL teams were barred from discussing player vaccination status. The team couldn’t make it known. Most players who are known to be unvaccinated are in that boat for one (or more) of three reasons:
    1.) They’ve made it known themselves.
    2.) They’ve been observed following the protocols specified for unvaccinated players.
    3.) Their interactions with the Covid Protocol (or whatever it is called when someone is positive or exposed) align with the rules for unvaccinated players, which are different than vaccinated players.

    All that said, I think this confirms what I suspected for a while: Rodgers is just sort of an ass. Because he’s good with a football and can charm on camera, he got away with it. I was actually really put off by his press conference where he flogged his front office after they caved to him. Just seems like a selfish, me-first dude who gets whiney when he doesn’t get his way. This only only cements that notion in my head now.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Yeah, I think this is right. And I think this is probably a situation where HIPAA applies and teams cannot disclose individual vaccine status. Players have been asked their vaccine status by reporters and refused citing their HIPAA rights, which is not a correct application of HIPAA law. But they don’t have to answer that question if they don’t want to anyway.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to PD Shaw
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        says:

        Once a player has to sit out a game for health reasons, the team has to release the information. That’s been part of the standard NFL deal between the team owners, and between the league and the players’ association, ever since gambling on the games became big business.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain
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          says:

          Yes but they can simply say he is out due to Covid. Per the agreement with the CBA, the team cannot say whether or not a player is vaccinated.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            To elaborate, if a player is out with a bum ankle, they report he is out with a bum ankle.

            If a player is out due to Covid, they report he is out due to Covid. Even vaccinated players who test positive will miss time, so reporting that someone is out due to Covid does not reveal that player’s vaccination status.

            However, observing how a player’s absence due to Covid evolves can indicate what is going on. For instance, in this case, his positive case was reported on Tuesday or Wednesday and he was immediately ruled out for Sunday’s game. That wouldn’t happen with a vaccinated player because vaccinated players can return to action if they have no symptoms and two negative tests more than 24 hours apart. If Rodgers were vaccinated, there’d be the potential for him to play on Sunday. But the team indicated he’d be out for an extended period (the league requires a minimum of 10 days for vaccinated players). So folks just did the math and figured out that he must be unvaccinated. From there, I think his previous statements and other sources corroborated that.

            Lamar Jackson is suspected of being unvaccinated due to his various run-ins with the Covid protocol. I don’t believe it is known for certain but basically he would not have found himself in the situations he has (I believe needing to isolate over the summer, but don’t quote me on that) if he was vaccinated

            Other players, like Cole Beasley of the Bills, have been very up front about their decision not to get vaccinated.

            So, teams can simultaneously note that a player is out due to Covid, not directly reveal their vaccination status (which they are prohibited from doing), but it can still become obvious what a player’s vaccination status is very likely to be as a result.

            All that said, the Packers may face penalties because reporting indicates they knew exactly what Rodgers’ status was and still allowed him to break protocol (namely, attending in-person press conferences unmasked). So, this situation is a combination of Rodgers’ being publicly deceptive and his team participating in that. Repercussions may be severe.

            But, ya know, he insists the organization treats him unfairly. [eyeroll]Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            At least as I understand it — quite possibly in error — they have to say that he’s in isolation for at least ten days, not allowed to travel, nor into the team facilities. There’s only one thing that would trigger that. And they’re not allowed to lie the way the NHL does, where “lower leg injury” covers everything from an ankle sprain to multiple shattered bones.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain
              Ignored
              says:

              They might have to say that. I don’t know that level of specifics.

              But if a reporter says, “Is player X vaccinated?” or “Which players are vaccinated?” no one from the team can answer that questions. Further, a coach can’t go out there and say, “We got all our QBs vaxxed so we’ll avoid what happened to the Broncos last year.”

              Here’s a helpful primer ESPN put together: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32545222/aaron-rodgers-tests-positive-covid-19-rules-unvaccinated-nfl-players-packers-qb-return-more

              I think a few things contributed to the Packers’ handling of this:
              1.) Again, they apparently knew with certainty exactly what Rodgers’ vaccination status was.
              2.) They were barred from discussing it publicly.
              3.) They participated in his deceit to appease him amidst a very rocky relationship.
              4.) They’re probably hiding behind the restriction on discussing vaccination status as to why they didn’t make it known that he was unvaccinated despite him acting like he was vaccinated.

              I think they’ll eventually be outed. Then again, as the NFL has demonstrated repeatedly, they’re happy to sweep things under the rug if they think it advantageous “for the Shield.”Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Yep, absolutely. Rodgers wished to deceive the public, the team ownership (and teammates, probably) assisted him, and the rules provided overall cover.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                But your link indicates that teams have been sanctioned for violating the COVID protocols: “Among the teams fined were the New Orleans Saints ($500,000), Las Vegas Raiders ($500,000), Tennessee Titans ($350,000), New England Patriots ($350,000) and Baltimore Ravens ($250,000). The Saints were also stripped of a seventh-round draft pick, and the Raiders lost a sixth-rounder.”

                I don’t know how this compares with any of those situations, but I’d be surprised if a penalty would not apply. If the team was actively covering-up in activity that poses a risk to teammates, staff, opposing players, and officials, I would think loss of a draft pick would be in order.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to PD Shaw
                Ignored
                says:

                On non-Covid related matters (e.g., Ray Rice, concussion issues, the Washington Football Team investigation), the NFL has often tried to hide things until forced to engage with them publicly.

                I agree that they likely will be penalized, for the reasons you offer. I just don’t put ANYTHING past the league at this point and never trust them to do the right thing.

                Interestingly, one reason the Broncos were forced to play without a QB while other teams had games postponed as they dealt with Covid issues was because the Broncos tried to game the system by taking off their tracking bracelets and make it look like they were distanced when they weren’t. At the time, THIS was kept private and it left everyone wondering why the league seemed to be over-penalizing the Broncos.

                So, weirdly, even when the NFL gets it right (the Broncos didn’t deserve leniency) they still seem to handle it poorly. Reporting on the real reason didn’t come out until this year.

                Go figure.Report

        • PD Shaw in reply to Michael Cain
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m mostly familiar with MLB, and I don’t think they disclose health information without a waiver, but these issues might be primarily mediated by their respective collective bargaining agreement, which might constitute waiver and its own process.

          Last season baseball players would disappear off the active roster without explanation and replaced by another player. They were not on the injured list, so everyone assumed they were on the COVID list. Eventually reporting confirmed that people who tested positive for COVID or had to isolate because of close personal contacts were not available to get their consent; they had been told to go away.

          In any event, I think there were two possible explanations: (1) in order for a team to place a player on the injured list, there has to a supporting medical opinion shared it with MLB and with the player (who has some rights to challenge). The normal process of getting the various signatures was delayed by quarantine/isolation. (2) The collective bargaining agreement addresses HIPAA issues, but COVID issues were not subject to normal collective bargaining so they were reverted to needing player signatures to share.Report

  7. Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    Rodgers had a choice. He still does. This is no different for a top-tier NFL quarterback than it is for you and I or any other mere mortal. The choice is “get vaccinated, or don’t get vaccinated.” Of course that’s a choice.

    As I’ve written elsewhere on these pages, it’s a clean-the-toilets-or-eat-ice-cream kind of choice, and I see no particular reason to refrain from questioning the wisdom of someone who not only appears to insist upon the toilet but went out of his way to make people think he had chosen ice cream. It’s also potentially illuminating to muse on why he would have done that.Report

  8. Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    I read today that Rodgers has taken the “FU” position. That is, he says he has followed all of the NFL protocol for unvaccinated players to the letter: daily tests, masking, restricted access to sauna or other treatments, etc. The only exception is post-game press conferences, and other unvaccinated players have done those unmasked without being disciplined. Whether he is vaccinated or not is none of our business, nor the sports books who might want to adjust their odds a bit if they knew the GB quarterback was subject to minimum 10-day quarantines if he tested positive.Report

  9. Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    “Yeah, I’m immunized,” he said, so artificially, when asked in the preseason whether he was vaccinated. That was a lie by omission.

    By commission. Whatever homeopathic practices he did, they weren’t an immunization.Report

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