BOSTON (CBS) – “Health misinformation is one of the greatest threats we have right now,” says US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, the nation’s top public health official and one of our most distinguished physicians.
But to Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, because Murthy is debunking his COVID lies (such as the false claim that he’d spoken to an NFL doctor who “said it’s impossible for a vaccinated person to get COVID or spread COVID) he deserves another title – member of “the woke mob” who has Rodgers “in the crosshairs.”READ MORE: 'Historically Low Level Of Blood': Red Cross Looking For Donors This Holiday Season
“The woke mob.” It’s just one example of highly charged political language being used by Rodgers to defend his misinformation campaign, which goes well beyond the confusion and hesitancy coming from basketball star Kyrie Irving and other high-profile vaccine refusers.
And Wednesday’s meager fine imposed on him by the NFL is unlikely to deter Rodgers, who has lost just one endorsement and could be back on the field by this Sunday.
No wonder he felt comfortable issuing this classic non-apology for lying about his vaccination status: “I made some comments that people may have felt were misleading. To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments.”
“It’s the most dangerous thing I’ve ever seen by an NFL player,” says Upton Bell, a former Patriots general manager whose father was NFL commissioner in the 1940s and 1950s, who sees this as an unprecedented test of the league’s credentials as a good corporate citizen.READ MORE: Police Locate Car Involved In Somerville Hit And Run
“For the first time a player is spreading misinformation about something that has killed 750,000 and counting,” Bell says.
So where is this headed?
Bell told WBZ he thinks Rodgers should have been suspended by the NFL for at least the four games that Tom Brady got for Deflategate. I’m guessing that only happens if Rodgers continues on his soapbox about the vaccine and becomes an even bigger hero to the anti-vaxxer movement than he already is.
That could force the league’s hand, especially given the comparison with their crackdown on the public positions against police brutality taken by Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players.MORE NEWS: Peter Pan Offering $10,000 Sign-On Bonuses To Eligible Bus Drivers In Massachusetts
How do you square what they did then with waving off what Rodgers is doing now?