Green Bay Packers quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers reportedly tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the football league that a homeopathic treatment had “immunized” him against COVID-19 and that he did not need to be vaccinated.
That’s according to a report out yesterday on NFL.com—which also broke the news that Rodgers is still unvaccinated and has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to NFL.com, citing NFL Media, Rodgers had sought—and was denied—a vaccination exemption over the summer. As such, the unvaccinated Rodgers was considered unvaccinated by the NFL.
“Rodgers received homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels and asked the [NFL Players Association] to review his status,” NFL.com reported. The league and a designated infectious disease consultant determined that “Rodgers’ treatment did not provide any documented protection from the coronavirus.”
Homeopathy is a pseudoscience that claims excessive dilution of harmful substances can prevent or treat diseases. The debunked notion stems from the unfounded belief that “like cures like,” meaning that substances that cause similar symptoms to a particular disease can cure that disease after dilution. Homeopaths believe dilution, done in a ritualized manner, increases the potency of said cures. The dilutions are extreme, generally well beyond the point at which a single molecule of the original substance remains. Thus, most homeopathic “treatments” are nothing more than well-shaken water and/or fillers.
Homeopathic treatments generally provide little more than a placebo effect. But when dilutions are done improperly, homeopathy can be deadly. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration reported that improperly diluted homeopathic teething gels and tablets for babies were linked to the deaths of 10 infants and may have caused seizures, fever, and vomiting in more than 400 others. The products contained elevated levels of the toxic substance belladonna, which is also known as deadly nightshade.
Amid the pandemic, homeopaths have aimed their bogus treatments at COVID-19. Over the summer, federal prosecutors arrested a homeopathic practitioner in California, alleging she ran a scheme to sell patients falsified federal vaccination cards, along with vials of unidentified pellets for $243. The homeopath, Juli Mazi, claimed the pellets provided “lifelong immunity” to COVID-19. It’s still unclear what the pellets contain, and one person who spoke with federal investigators said the pellets made them ill.
In a recorded conversation with Mazi, one patient asked her directly what the pellets were. She provided this incoherent explanation:
This is from the COVID-19… It is made from the disease particles themselves. I do not know the exact process for that… As long as they can extract germs of the virus, they can make the remedy.
It’s unclear what homeopathic treatment Rodgers may have taken and why he reportedly believed it was as effective as FDA authorized and approved vaccines. So far, Rodgers has not clarified his vaccination status or discussed any homeopathic treatments.
However, it seems he believed he was protected from COVID-19. During a press conference in August, a reporter asked Rodgers if he was vaccinated. Rodgers responded, “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.”
On Wednesday, reporters asked Packers coach Matt LaFleur if Rodgers’ use of the word “immunized” may have been misleading. LaFleur dodged the question, calling it a “great question for Aaron,” and added that he wouldn’t comment.
NFL.com noted that as an unvaccinated player, Rodgers has “remained subject to a variety of restrictions, including daily testing, mask-wearing, and high-risk close contact protocol that would force him to isolate for five days based on interaction with a positive individual, even if he tested negative.”
Under the NFL’s collectively bargained health and safety protocols, now that Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19, he cannot be present for any team activities for a 10-day period. To the dismay of football fans everywhere, he will miss Sunday’s hotly anticipated duel against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.