On Nov. 24, Aaron Rodgers proclaimed on popular podcast “The Pat McAfee Show” that his post-COVID symptoms involved a case of “COVID toe.” One day later, he released a statement saying that he had no idea what COVID toes were, and that his toes were merely broken.
I have been absolutely baffled by the behavior of Aaron Rodgers during the so-called ‘COVID era,’ as this was only one of many cases of untrue, false or just flat-out odd remarks coming from Rodgers over the last couple years. He has appeared on countless podcasts spewing ‘information’ that has media sources delivering fact check after fact check.
Even my mom, over Thanksgiving break, announced how tired she was of hearing about Rodgers' wacky behavior. My dad and I found it funny at the moment, laughing about how annoyed she was. Ultimately, the problem is that his antics are not just strange and annoying, but damaging as well.
Now, I’m not here to harp on him for his vaccination status. Everyone has heard it before, and there’s no point in replaying the same argument.
What I am here to harp on him for is failing to own up to the misleading effects of his words. Sharing false information about the vaccine, and even his own condition, then acting like he never heard the words that came from his own mouth is no way for such a loved, looked-up-to public figure to behave.
In particular, many kids, like I did growing up, consider athletes to be role models. It is unfortunate to think about a 12-year-old Rodgers fan hearing him disparage the vaccine and becoming scared of it due to information that is simply untrue.
My point is, his words reach millions of people, and many of those people look up to him. He will almost undoubtedly never read this column. If he did, though, I would want him to have one takeaway: Your words have meaning. Your fans listen to what you say, and even people like my mom, at the very least, seem to hear about it.
Don’t continue the vicious cycle of misinformation that permeates all sources of communication in our current world. And if you do lie, purposefully or not, take ownership of it. Yes, COVID toes exist, but why say you have it and then claim a day later to have never heard of it? It weakens that voice that I talked about earlier, that influence that Rodgers has over his fans and supporters. Credibility is so important, and Rodgers seems to damage his own more and more every day.
After days of thought, I came up with what I consider to be the best solution to this crucial issue: Let’s just stop talking about Aaron Rodgers’ toes altogether. That was really the last image I wanted to see before starting my Thanksgiving meal.