Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers and Allen Lazard fined for COVID violations

Author: Sophie Reardon / CBS
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws the ball into the crowd as time expires during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. The Packers won 24-21. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The NFL has fined the Green Bay Packers organization, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Allen Lazard for violating COVID-19 protocols, the league said in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday. The fines come nearly a week after Rodgers tested positive for the coronavirus and subsequently revealed he was not vaccinated after earlier stating he had been “immunized.”

“The Club was fully cooperative in the investigation into violations of the collectively bargained NFL-NFLPA protocols,” the NFL said Tuesday.

Rodgers and Lazard each received a $14,650 penalty for attending a Halloween party. According to the NFL’s protocols, unvaccinated players cannot gather outside of the club facility in a group of more than three players. The investigation did find that both players typically followed the league’s other protocols, with the exception of wearing masks during press conferences.

“There’s no argument that Aaron Rodgers should have been wearing a mask at press conferences,” the NFL said. “The league reviewed substantial video from club facility. While the review showed a few isolated instances of Rodgers and Allen Lazard failing to wear a mask in facility, they were substantially compliant otherwise. There was no widespread or systemic mask-wearing violations.”

The Packers organization faces a $300,000 fine because it was aware of the Halloween party after it happened and “did not discipline Rodgers or Lazard and failed to report their violations to the league,” the NFL said. And in other instances, including press conferences, the Packers “failed to strictly enforce the protocols,” according to the NFL.

The league said both the team and the two players were warned that future violations could result in “escalated discipline.”

“We respect the League’s findings and we recognize the importance of adherence to the COVID protocols to keep our team and organization safe and healthy,” Mark Murphy, the Packers’ president and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday. “We will continue to educate the team regarding the importance of the protocols and remain committed to operating within the protocols.”

When asked at a press conference in August if he had been vaccinated, Rodgers replied that he had been “immunized.

Last week, Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19, and, days later, admitted that he had not been inoculated. In an interview on “The Pat McAfee Show”, he said that he instead underwent a homeopathic “immunization protocol” supervised by a medical team. He also said he had taken an anti-parasite drug called ivermectin, which the CDC has repeatedly opposed as a COVID-19 treatment.

On Tuesday, Rodgers said he takes “full responsibility” for his misleading comments about his vaccination status.

“I shared an opinion that is polarizing, I get it. I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility of those comments,” he said Tuesday on the “The Pat McAfee Show,” where he first disclosed his vaccination status last week. “But in the end, I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about. And I stand behind the things that I said.”


Zoe Christen Jones and Victoria Albert contributed reporting.

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