(Reuters) – The National Football League (NFL) has created a “two-class system” to differentiate the way it treats vaccinated and unvaccinated players, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on Tuesday.
Rodgers, who has not been vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 in November and received widespread criticism for telling reporters in August that he was “immunized” when he was asked if he had been vaccinated.
The 38-year-old questioned why unvaccinated players were held to different standards in an appearance on YouTube show “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday.
“What I don’t understand, it makes no sense to me to continue to spread this narrative that non-vaccinated players are more dangerous or these superspreaders,” Rodgers said. “I don’t understand why there is still this two-class system that exists in our league.
“There’s not many unvaccinated guys left in the league but it’s obviously not a pandemic of the unvaccinated. It doesn’t make sense to me we’re still punishing non-vaccinated players.”
The NFL has said its COVID-19 vaccination rate stood at 94.6% among players and nearly 100% among personnel, while 30 of the league’s 32 clubs have an overall vaccination rate of 95% or higher.
The league does not require players to get vaccinated but has repeatedly urged them to do so. Earlier this month it said in a memo to teams that unvaccinated players were more likely to miss time that vaccinated players.
“Our own data has shown that unvaccinated players have contracted the virus and lost time as close contacts at a much greater rate than vaccinated players,” it said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get a COVID-19 vaccine as it is “highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death”.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)