"Ask Vic" is published on M-W-F through the regular season.
Eddie from Jollyville, TX
Allen Lazard missed a game as an unvaccinated player due to close contact. That missed game was entirely his fault. Does he lose a paycheck for his choice to be unvaccinated?
Neil from Beaver Dam, WI
Aaron Rodgers is so smart he wants to host Jeopardy but not smart enough to get vaccinated? That could cost Green Bay a home game in the playoffs and millions of dollars in revenue for the team and the city. That's not how I define a smart person.
Saying he was immunized is beyond deceptive. It also bothers me the Packers appear to have been aware Rodgers wasn't vaccinated and failed to clarify his remarks, which I see as disrespectful to the media that covers the team. I don't know the legalities of issuing a clarification but, at the least, the Packers should've strongly encouraged, all but demanded, Rodgers clarify his remarks. Maybe they did and he resisted; I don't know and I'm looking forward to knowing the truth. Whether or not the Packers enforced protocol for an unvaccinated player is a major issue, but my No. 1 issue is what appears to be a callous disregard for the truth.
Ryan from Green Bay, WI
It probably isn’t fair to ask what you’d do as a team-employed writer, but it feels like between the misleading statement, potential Covid protocol violations and convenient general lack of access by outside reporters, there's plenty of material to call both team and player out, but won’t be for fear of retribution.
As a team-employed writer, I would allow the facts to speak for themselves as they present themselves. There's going to be no hiding or disguising the truth anymore, and the Packers have to be especially transparent in the reporting on their website; anything less will be seen as another attempt at deception.
Alex from Racine, WI
Selfish behavior from A-Rod. I'm really disappointed, but I guess we get to see now whether Love can be a starter against the Chiefs. What are your keys for this game if you're the Packers?
I can't focus on keys to the game right now. The game is minor; it's a subplot. The integrity of the Packers franchise and one of their greatest players is the focus. This is a bad look for a model franchise.
Scott from Alaska
Amidst all the speculation surrounding Aaron Rodgers this past summer, how wild is it the answer to the beautiful mystery is he was stalling for time as he sought special approval from the league to recognize an alternative therapy as a Covid vaccine equivalent?
Nothing about this is beautiful.
Matthew from Shawnee, KS
Should Rodgers have been kept out of the game against Arizona like Lazard was since he was considered a close contact and unvaccinated? Seems like it. Will the league be coming down on him or the team for this?
That has to be a consideration in deciding on the severity of the punishment.
Nick from Toronto, ON
What are your thoughts on how Rodgers' August statements were reported at the time? His "immunized" answer was an obvious misdirection to avoid answering the question, even then. Where was the followup?
Rodgers' choice of words was begging for clarification, but I think it's unfair to blame the reporters. The media asked a fair question. It deserved a fair answer. The blame belongs to Rodgers, nobody else.
Derek from Neshkoro, WI
So, what exactly does it mean to be "immunized?" Was Rodgers just lying to the fans? I don’t like losing but I’m so desperately tired of the smugness.
Immunize is to "make (a person or animal) immune to infection, typically by inoculation. 'The vaccine is used to immunize children against measles.' "
Rob from Superior, CO
Looks like the Packers' luck ran out?
I don't regard getting caught lying an example of bad luck.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
A few of the Packers reporters have beat themselves up over not diving further into the nuances of Rodgers saying immunized versus vaccinated in regards to Covid 19. Would you have tried to pry deeper to have Rodgers give you specifics?
A part of me thinks I would've responded with, "You mean vaccinated, right?" But I can't be sure. Would I have been intimidated by my role as a team employee? Absolutely not. My press conference personality tended to be spontaneous. I treated press conferences as innocent means for information gathering, to which the subject had agreed to participate. Why not seek clarification? I have a feeling the Packers would've preferred the media seek clarification of what Rodgers meant when he said he was immunized. It would've helped them avoid the mess they're in now. That's one of the reasons a team needs an accomplished media; to do what the team doesn't want to do. At the time, the Packers' relationship with Rodgers was strained, which might be the reason they chose to ignore the deception. The Packers needed the media to pry deeper. The PR guys I always respected would've planted a seed. "Did you think he meant vaccinated and misspoke?" they would've said to a reporter they trusted to get the information right. Any savvy PR guy would've seen the danger in not getting this right. There were plenty of opportunities for clarification. This whole thing was senselessly, disrespectfully and unnecessarily botched.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Because of a sustained high level of play and, subsequently, the memories that came with it, we've always put up with Rodgers' antics and his "I am smarter than you" attitude. He showed his true colors here. There are literally former NFL players who retired early to fight the pandemic, and here we have another bonehead doing their own research. Earth to Rodgers, you are not a doctor, epidemiologist, nor are you a public health expert. You are a football player, and one who doesn't show up in the biggest moments. First Favre, now Rodgers; our QBs keep tarnishing their legacies. I'm officially ready for the future. Lombardi and Starr wouldn't stand for this nonsense.
The future, or at least a preview of it, begins on Sunday. If the result isn't favorable, watch how fast Packers fans forgive Rodgers, make excuses for him and welcome him back.
Tom from Virginia
Vic, I'm a Packers fan and I continue to enjoy watching Rodgers play, but what he did was reckless and irresponsible. After seeing and hearing him speak on many different social topics, his decision to handle this issue with deceptive and misleading rhetoric is stunning and disheartening. Whatever one's personal health choice is regarding the vaccine, to lie and thus put others at possible risk is unacceptable.
Will the NFL voice that same opinion with the punishment it imposes?
David from Alexandria, VA
Vic, Is Rodgers a classic example of pride goeth before the fall?
I don't think this is about pride. In my opinion, it was pure arrogance to think he could deceive the media, ignore the protocol and get away with it.
Greg from Danbury, CT
What does Jordan Love have to show us in order to keep his starting position?
That's not going to happen. Love will be playing to convince the Packers not to draft a quarterback next spring.
Ben from Alameda, CA
What's crazier than an "ASKVIC" license plate?
An "Ask Vic" tattoo?
Samuel from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, remind us, when does pride goeth?
Pride goeth before I went to the range on Thursday. I was feeling real good about myself on Wednesday. Yesterday was a humbling experience.
James from Nogojiwanong, Canada
Do you think media covering the Packers were complicit in obscuring Mr. Rodgers' vaccination status? Seems to me this may be, yet, another great moment for American journalism (detect irony.)
I know many of the reporters covering the Packers and they are dedicated to their craft. They spend all of their energy on gathering news, not obscuring it. I'm gonna say it again: The Packers gained nothing in allowing Rodgers to skirt and disguise the truth. The Packers had much more to gain by being complicit with its media in leaking the truth or instigating a followup question in a later interview. The Packers media is only guilty of being too respectful of Rodgers. Were they naive, too soft? Maybe. Is Rodgers guilty of disguising and advancing a lie? Absolutely. The media asked the right question: Have you been vaccinated? Rodgers' answer, for all intents and purposes, was yes. Put the blame where it belongs.