Legendary sportscaster Bob Costas stopped by Cuomo Prime Time on Thursday to discuss the drama surrounding three-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. After the Green Bay quarterback tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, it was revealed by the NFL Network that he is not vaccinated despite telling reporters in August that he has “been immunized.”
According to NFL.com, Rodgers received a homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor before training camp to raise his antibody levels, and had sought and was denied an exemption from the NFL and NFL Players Association COVID-19 protocols, leaving his status as unvaccinated.
As a result, Rodgers will miss Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs and can't return to the field or team practice facilities for, at least, 10 days, even if he is asymptomatic. On top of all that, Costas says the way Rodgers has handled the situation is not good.
“There are a lot of people already in the media who cover the NFL on a daily basis, which I no longer do, who have labeled him a liar,” Costas said. “If you want to be extremely kind, you could say that he was disingenuous. He was obviously comfortable with most of the media and football fans nearly unanimously believing he was vaccinated.”
Costas compared the situation to other high-profile athletes who have chosen not to get vaccinated, naming NFL wide receiver Cole Beasley and quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz, along with NBA star Kyrie Irving. But he said the difference is that they’re not afraid to talk about it.
“No matter how anti-facts, anti-science and anti-common sense some of the anti-vaxxers are,” Costas said of the aforementioned athletes. “Say whatever else you want, they've all owned it, they’ve all come out and said, ‘this is what I believe, this is what I'm doing.’ Aaron Rodgers was disingenuous about it.”
Those issues, to go along with missing games and the potential for Rodgers and the team to suffer penalties, is why Costas said Rodgers’s reputation is going to suffer from this.
“He’s one of the greatest players of all time, that’s obvious, but his reputation is going to take a hit out of this,” Costas said. “He may get support, but on balance his reputation is going to be hurt.”
When it comes to the common response of athletes referring to their decision not to get vaccinated as a “personal choice,” Costas was clear on how he feels about it.
“I don’t want to be overly glib about this, but it’s a personal choice whether or not to get a tattoo. Or whether you’re going to have the sushi or the pizza,” Costas said. “But it's not a personal choice when it affects other people. Not only their health, for obvious reasons, but in the case of athletes on a team, it affects your team and their chance to win.”
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