Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Comes For Aaron Rodgers Over Vaccine Controversy | Pens Blog Holding Athletes Accountable

Image Credit: Twitter @dekebridges

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not feeling the lack of accountability with many professional athletes in the age of COVID-19.

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However, the creator of the skyhook penned a blog on Monday, Nov. 8, calling out the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. The quarterback recently contracted COVID-19, and the world discovered that he was not truthful about his vaccination status. His duplicity not only has at least temporarily cost the team the services of its starting quarterback, it also cost it a $300,000 fine from the NFL, which also hit Rodgers and Packers receiver Allen Lazard with $14,500 fines on Tuesday as penalties for violations of the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Keeping It Real

Abdul-Jabbar cites the extreme admiration that children have for professional athletes to drive his point about accountability.

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“According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, children 10-17 years old admire famous athletes second (73 percent) only to their parents (92 percent),” Abdul-Jabbar opined. “That’s a sacred trust not to be abused. Unfortunately, the pandemic has revealed several athletes who abuse their position and responsibility, not just to the public but to other professional athletes’ livelihood.

“That latest egregious abuser is Green Bay quarterback and three-time MVP Aaron Rodgers who directly and deliberately lied to fans and the public when he assured everyone he was ‘immunized,’ knowing that word would be interpreted as his being vaccinated.

“He wasn’t vaccinated. And he got COVID-19. And he went maskless during in-person press conferences, which not only violated NFL rules but put everyone else’s health at risk.”

Legendary Commentary

Abdul-Jabbar’s indictment of Rodgers is driven home with words like “egregious abuser” and pointing out his feeling that Rodgers “deliberately lied to fans.”

However, the call out is on-brand for the basketball icon who has been a fervent supporter of taking the vaccine. Abdul-Jabbar was a part of the NBA PSA campaign to encourage vaccination, especially among African-Americans.

He became the Hall of Fame face to erode popular cultural beliefs in the African-American community. The history of nefarious medical study campaigns like the Tuskegee experiment caused vaccine trepidation. There rate of African-Americans affected by the coronavirus continues to exceed that of other demographic groups in the United States.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is on a mission as a result.

Clear Mission

“Instead of consulting immunologists, he consulted anti-vaxxer and podcast host Joe Rogan, who also contracted the virus. If he ever requires open-heart surgery, will he hand the scalpel to romance writers because they know about matters of the heart?

“Rodgers compounded his lie by adding another lie. While being interviewed about the backlash on the Pat McAfee Show, he claimed that a league doctor told him ‘it would be impossible for a vaccinated person to catch or spread COVID.’ However, the NFL responded by saying no doctor from the league or consultants from the NFL-NFLPA communicated with the players.

“What’s especially bothersome is that Aaron Rodgers didn’t just lie and threaten the health of those around him, he also damaged professional sports.”

Rodgers’ Return?

Rodgers is currently in quarantine based on his COVID-19 status. However, by the league’s COVID-19 plan, Rodgers can return to the team on Saturday, completing his 10-day quarantine period.

Additionally, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said he would play Rodgers if he is available. How this decision affects those around him in the locker room and field is unclear.

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“Rodgers’ ignorance regarding the science of immunology brings back to life the old stereotype of the big dumb jock. His utter lack of even the most basic knowledge and logic is shocking.”

Deeper Impact

However, Abdul-Jabbar ties his point with a bow juxtaposing Rodgers against the plight of Colin Kaepernick.

“I can’t help but think of Colin Kaepernick, who was blacklisted by the NFL for passively expressing his frustration with systemic racism — a brave act meant to help his community and save lives — while multi-millionaire Rodgers will continue to play, despite lying to the fans and his teammates and putting innocent lives in danger. Time will tell whether Rodgers will be judged by the content of his character or the strength of his throwing arm.”

Never one to mince words, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has taken a strong position, and he owns it with Aaron Rodgers in the center of his pro-vaccine argument.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.