Boots & Sabers

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0805, 12 Nov 21

Aaron Rodgers is human after all

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week:

Aaron Rodgers has always had an independent streak. It is a character trait that has made him one of football’s greats on any given Sunday and made people scratch their heads at his unconventional grooming choices. In hindsight, it seems obvious that Rodgers would chart his own course to protect himself from COVID-19.


The bones of the story are rather dry. Rodgers did not want to take a COVID-19 vaccine and chose a homeopathic protocol to boost his immune system instead. He has subsequently come down with COVID-19. Our collective experience shows that he could have just as easily contracted COVID-19 if he had been vaccinated, but the revelation that he is unvaccinated has invited scrutiny.


The flesh of the story is full of depth and nuance that bring to the surface the entire national conversation regarding vaccines, mandates, health care autonomy, natural rights, responsibility, privacy, and honesty. While the confines of this column will not allow us to explore the entire body, let us pick at a few scabs together. Thankfully, Rodgers took the time to wax expansively about the issue on “The Pat McAfee Show.” His explanation was like one of his expert fourth-quarter game-winning drives — aggressive, thoughtful, creative, layered, and difficult to counter. In his interview, he spoke truths that many Americans know, but are fearful of expressing for fear of a repressive response from the government/ media/Big Pharma/Big Tech medical totalitarians. First, many of the rules that government and businesses have enacted in response to the pandemic are idiotic. They defy logic, ignore the science of how viruses spread and disregard our actual experience or results of these rules. Many of the rules are designed to allow people to demonstrate the virtue of subservience to authority and shame those who think independently. Making a speaker wear a mask at a podium when everyone else is vaccinated and unmasked “makes no sense,” as Rodgers said. It makes even less sense when we know that vaccinated people are spreading and becoming infected with COVID almost as easily as the unvaccinated. Our national experience is that the greatest value of the vaccines seems to be in lessening the severity of an infection — not preventing the spread of it.


Second, “health is not a one-size-fits-all” proposition, said Rodgers. Doctors have known this for centuries and there are entire health care practices built around leveraging knowledge and technology to deliver personalized health care. The human body is an intensely complex creation. To think that there is one treatment or drug that is universally effective and necessary defies centuries of learning. In Rodgers’ case, he claims to be allergic to two of the vaccines and considered the risk of negative effects of the vaccines to be greater than the risk of a healthy young man getting a virus that is statistically less dangerous to him than driving to work every day.


Third, Rodgers asserted his freedom as a thinking American to make a choice for himself based on the information he chose to consume. He made a health care decision for himself that would have been a private choice as recently as two years ago. He thinks that health care decisions should be private, and up until the pandemic melted privacy laws, it would have been. While some may make the case that Rodgers’ case is different because he is a public figure, consider that our federal government has just enacted a mandate for tens of millions of Americans that will force Americans to disclose their medical status on pain of pauperism.

Which brings us to the very definition of freedom. What is it? Are Americans still free in the age of COVID? Freedom is the broad latitude to exercise one’s natural rights without restraint. It is the ability to speak one’s mind without punishment. It is the power to decide what medical treatments to receive, if any, without coercion. That is not to say that freedom can be exercised without criticism, but that nobody — especially one’s government — can wield coercive power to stifle the exercise of one’s rights.


We cannot be said to live in a state of freedom when we cannot express opinions to make our own health care decisions without being penalized by our government whether that government is acting directly or reaching through our employers with the fist of regulation. We do not have freedom if we are only permitted to speak, pray or receive health care that is approved by our new pharmacratic overlords.


At its core, freedom means that people can speak and make personal medical decisions even if they are self-destructive, kooky, or just plain stupid. Whether you agree with Rodgers’ decision about his health care choices, it is his choice to make. In a different era, we allowed our government to exercise power over us only when there was heat created by the friction of opposing freedoms grating against each other. We no longer live in that era. Now we live in an era where we allow our government to wield direct and indirect power to regulate our personal medical decisions and silence speech that does not conform with the current government-approved canon. Rodgers has said that his thoughts on the pandemic will make the left cancel him and the right champion him. Perhaps, but for me, his thoughts humanize him because he is an American who has the same rights as the rest of us. He is frustrated and angry about the increasingly heavy boot of oppression that is suffocating our liberty with the garrote of public health policy.


0805, 12 November 2021


  1. Mar

    “First, many of the rules that government and businesses have enacted in response to the pandemic are idiotic.”
    Like wearing a mask during a zoom call?
    Or being forced to get a vaccination to go and you just take online classes?
    Like wearing masks outside while taking a stroll down the street and no one e is within 3 blocks of you?
    Or wearing masks at wedding recptions and other parties and get togethers…oh wait, the little people (not midgets) and conservatives have to wear them but liberal leaders don’t have to.
    Why ate you being forced to get a vaccine whole those who collect federal benefits like Social security and food stamps don’t have to.
    Or why the illegals who cross the border illegally don’t need to get vaccinated?
    And why do companies with over 100 employees, all those employees must be vaccinated but those with 99 employees do not?
    Why is Congress exempt from vaccine mandates? Shouldn’t they be leaders in getting vaccines?
    And why is the fake doctor Fauci killing puppies?

  2. MjM

    BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – As the Cal football program postponed this weekend’s game against USC after 44 players tested positive for COVID-19, an infectious expert at UCSF questions testing those who were asymptomatic.

    Dr. Monica Gandhi from UCSF said this is case where some of the guidelines haven’t been updated. Gandhi adds the big fail here was that those in the football program who were asymptomatic and fully vaccinated were tested.

    “I have zero panic whatsoever as a public health person, as an infectious disease doctor, of 44 healthy people who are fully vaccinated who may have a little virus in their nose on a highly sensitive test,” Gandhi told KPIX 5 Wednesday.

    According to Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton, 99.5% of players are vaccinated but everyone had to submit to a COVID-19 test, whether they showed symptoms or not.

    Interesting is how the media (and former sporties) crapped their pants over Rogers but are completely silent on another NFLer with twice the alcohol limit in his veins driving his $130,000 custom Corvette C8 with an illegal gun on the floor150mph into the rear end of an innocent woman, killing her and her dog.

    And Lew Alcindor is still an ass.

  3. Mar

    No one has answered my question: if you have a couple of virus cells in your nose and have no symptoms, are you really sick?

  4. MjM

    That question has been answered dozens of times, most recently by Owen’s alma mater Texas A&M.

  5. Mar

    No one here has answered it.

  6. MjM

    I answered it four comments above this one, just as I did in the T-A&M discussion.

  7. MjM

    Vaccinated Steelers QB Big Ben Roethlisberger tested pos, placed on NFL no-no list, out this week (luckily just the Lion-downs) and next week.

    ButRogers li-eeeeeed!

  8. Tuerqas

    Did you notice anything else from all those Rodgers bashers? No comment at all on the fact that he cleared protocols in only 10 days, just like all the vaccinated sports host. If he had the Vid, he should have been sick at least 2 weeks with the virus still in him, not making videos with no symptoms whatsoever. I thought that those hick unvaccinated people were going to get it ever so much worse than those smart vaccinated people.

  9. Merlin

    Don’t look for any apologies. Rodgers didn’t generate nearly enough outrage results, so they’ve already moved on. They can always find the sky falling on someone, somewhere. It’s what they do.

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