Here’s the latest reminder that if you’re ever tempted to quote Martin Luther King Jr. to defend your own behavior, don’t.
Aaron Rodgers, the currently-embattled Green Bay Packers franchise quarterback, is exhibit A. Rodgers, you’ll remember, will miss the Packers’ Nov. 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs because he tested positive for Covid-19. The positive Covid test itself is NBD; the NFL is a contact sport and has put protocols in place because it expects some players to come in contact with the virus. The issue is that Rodgers either lied or wasn’t exactly forthcoming about his vaccination status, which has been the talk of the league all week.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
“Aaron Rodgers was asked in late August by a member of the Packers media whether he was vaccinated. In that moment, there were three truthful ways to answer: Yes, I’m vaccinated (and, if he wanted to, here’s why). No, I’m not vaccinated (and, if he wanted to, here’s why).
I believe that’s a personal/medical decision, and I’m not going to answer...Rodgers answered the question as if he was saying yes, when really the answer is no.”
After his deception was uncovered by the NFL and the media earlier this week, Rodgers stayed as quiet as a church mouse lost in an empty Lambeau Field. In hindsight, that was the best thing he could’ve done, but instead he gave an interview to The Pat McAfee Show and immediately chose violence. He blamed the “woke mob” for the controversy and said media reporting on his vaccination status was a witch hunt, according to this SB Nation story on the interview (which also gives an amazing breakdown of Rodgers’ various attempts to explain that he’s not an anti-vaxxer while also explaining that that’s exactly what he is.)
But the interview’s low point is when Rodgers goes full-on Civil Rights martyr, something that’s becoming increasingly, oddly common among people who refuse to be vaccinated for a virus that’s disproportionately killing nonwhite and lower-income people.
From the Daily Beast:
“You have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense,” Rogers said, in the process misquoting MLK, who wrote in a 1963 letter from the Birmingham, Alabama jail, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” There is no “law” requiring NFL players to get vaccinated, nor is there a league-wide vaccine mandate. There are, however, COVID protocols that all unvaccinated players must follow.”
It’s worth noting that King wrote his Letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963, while he was essentially a political prisoner, jailed for leading a nonviolent protest of American Apartheid. He was not, in fact, choosing to not play professional football because he refused to get a shot.