NFL says Aaron Rodgers did not violate COVID protocol in preseason games, others disagree

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USA TODAY Sports

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, although unvaccinated, has attended three preseason games this year in street dress. He did not wear a mask on any of them. This violates the plain language of the COVID protocols that were in place for the preseason.

The NFL is now trying to say no.

“Inactive and IR players on the sidelines should be masked,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email of unvaccinated players. Regarding the preseason games, McCarthy asserts that “there was no violation as there is no active / inactive status for these games.”

Here is the relevant part of the protocols for training camp and pre-season regarding match day: “Anyone with access to the bench area who is not fully vaccinated, with the exception of active players, should wear masks at all times. “

While teams don’t make the same official inactivity designations during the preseason as 90 minutes before regular season and playoff games kick off, some teams definitely make announcements ahead of time. to players who will be inactive. The Packers did this before the first preseason game of 2021, before the second, and before the third. Thus, Rodgers was not an “active player” in these games. Because he was also not fully vaccinated, he should have worn a mask.

Indeed, the mere presence of the term “Active Actors” in the PRESEASON games protocol implies that there is a distinction between active and inactive. Otherwise, the protocol would have simply said “Players” and not “Active Players”.

As a general manager told PFT on Wednesday night, the league’s claim that unvaccinated players who haven’t dressed for preseason don’t need to wear masks is in “direct contrast. “with the information communicated by the league to the teams. Several teams have been told that unvaccinated players who were in attendance for preseason games but were not in uniform were required to wear masks – and practice social distancing.

Rodgers did neither. The Packers did nothing. The league did nothing. Apparently the league now wants to prevent that specific wrinkle from becoming a major issue by claiming that a trio of Rodgers’ egregious violations weren’t violations at all.

Even if they were.


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