“Everybody has an opinion, I understand it,” Rodgers stated. “It’s a very polarizing issue for some individuals. But I’m just focusing on the support that I got and it was deep and wide and greatly, greatly appreciated.”

Rodgers performed his postgame availability over video convention, although when requested why he opted to be interviewed at a take away, as a substitute of in a room with reporters as he had achieved all season, he didn’t reply. For Rodgers, who tends to decide on his phrases fastidiously, his silence appeared a not-so-subtle admission that he didn’t wish to abide by the mask-wearing protocol required when unvaccinated gamers communicate in particular person with reporters.

When requested straight in late August whether or not he was vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19, he first stated, “yeah” — insinuating that he had been — earlier than stating that he was “immunized.” It was a intelligent little bit of misdirection, and it allowed him to flee the criticism that different quarterbacks, just like the Colts’ Carson Wentz and the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins, have absorbed. In an interview final week with McAfee, Rodgers acknowledged that his response had been disingenuous.

The Packers, although, knew all alongside that Rodgers was not vaccinated, and their allowing him to amble round their headquarters and conduct information conferences unmasked — a transparent violation of the league’s Covid-19 protocols — bolstered an N.F.L. axiom: The higher the participant, the extra a corporation is keen to endure.

Rodgers’s expertise conferred upon him sure privileges that lesser gamers, vaccinated or not, in all probability wouldn’t have loved. The option to allow Rodgers (and Lazard, who can be unvaccinated) value the Packers a $300,000 advantageous for failing to implement these protocols at soccer amenities or at a crew Halloween get together that Rodgers attended, unmasked. Both gamers have been fined $14,650 final week.

Though defending Rodgers was clearly of their greatest curiosity, the Packers’ benevolence could possibly be perceived as a acutely aware transfer to keep away from harshing his mellow after an inferno of an low season. He and administration appear synchronized, for now; Rodgers earlier than the commerce deadline lauded each his communication with General Manager Brian Gutekunst and the personnel strikes which have shepherded Green Bay, with Arizona shedding to Carolina on Sunday, atop the N.F.C.

Rodgers, by means of concessions the Packers agreed to along with his contract, has the facility to decide on the place he performs subsequent season, and it doubtless received’t be in Green Bay. Four regular-season house video games stay earlier than the playoffs, every ushering Rodgers nearer to a possible break after 17 seasons in inexperienced and gold. He walked off the sphere with gratitude Sunday. It is, all the time, simpler to recollect the nice instances.



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