More discipline on the way?
Anyone who hoped Aaron Rodgers would be punished harshly for impersonating a vaccinated person (and the Packers for allowing him to) would have been very disappointed when the NFL handed out ridiculous fines to the quarterback and the franchise on Tuesday.
Rodgers and teammate Allen Lazard were fined $14,650 (in accordance with the fine schedule agreed upon by the league and the players’ union before the season) for attending a team’s Halloween party because unvaccinated players are not allowed to get together with teammates in groups of more than three outside of the team facility. The Packers were fined $300,000 for failing to report Rodgers and Lazard’s presence at the party and for not disciplining Rodgers for not wearing his mask during press conferences.
The fines came after a competition investigation in the wake of Rodgers’ positive COVID-19 test last week. But the investigation apparently failed to identify other violations by Rodgers. defector‘s Kalyn Kahler posted a photo to Twitter that she said was sent to her by a Green Bay resident in which Rodgers is seen – unmasked – at an ax-throwing bar.
Unvaccinated NFL players are expressly prohibited from going to indoor bars “other than to pick up food, or unless” [the] player wears PPE and there are no more than 10 people in the bar.” Since Rodgers was not wearing a mask and was an unvaccinated player who gathered in a group of more than three teammates, the trip to the bar is considered two violations of the NFL’s health and safety protocols. He should have been fined an additional $29,300 ($14,650 for each violation).
But how do we know the photo is from this season? Because Rodgers is wearing the same outfit as in a photo taken on comedian Bert Kreischer’s tour bus during his stop in Green Bay on Oct. 15.
The photo with Kreischer could pose additional problems for Rodgers. Kahler said that “Apparently,” Rodgers posted clips from Kreischer’s show that night to his Instagram Story. But because Instagram Stories expire after 24 hours, there’s no way to verify that Rodgers actually posted from the show. The photo on Kreischer’s bus was posted at 7:15 PM local time, before the show started. If Rodgers attended the show — and again, there’s no good evidence that he did — he’d be fined another $14,650 for “attending an indoor music concert/entertainment event.”
Even if Rodgers only posed for a photo with Kreischer on his way to the ax throwing bar, the night out with his teammates should lead to extra discipline from the competition. Understandably, the NFL’s investigation, conducted in about a week, found no evidence of Rodgers’ trip to the bar. But now that it’s out in the open, it’s just another example of Rodgers, like he did when he didn’t wear his mask for press conferences, picking and choosing which rules to follow.
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