Why Packers’ Aaron Rodgers likely won’t be suspended for NFL COVID protocol violations

There are still a lot of questions surrounding Aaron Rodgers and his availability for Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season after he tested positive for COVID-19 on the Wednesday before Week 9.

That said, it doesn’t seem like a potential suspension is one of the obstacles that Rodgers would have to overcome to play on Sunday.

SUTELAN: Fact-checking Aaron Rodgers’ COVID claims on ‘The Pat McAfee Show’

Rodgers has landed in hot water because of misleading comments about his vaccination status. He claimed that he was “immunized” but received homeopathic treatment instead of the vaccine.

As such, Rodgers wasn’t actually considered vaccinated by the NFL and has violated multiple COVID protocols during the season. These include failing to wear a mask at press conferences and attending an unmasked Halloween party with his teammates, among other offenses.

Despite this, Rodgers isn’t likely to get suspended for his actions, as USA TODAY’s Mike Jones details.

The league’s punishment isn’t expected to feature a suspension of the 2020 MVP, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

 

Two people familiar with the deliberations predicted Rodgers and the Packers will receive fines for their transgressions. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation remains ongoing.

This isn’t a surprise. Why? Because the NFL’s COVID protocols don’t outline a process for suspending a player for failing to adhere to COVID protocols. Instead, they rely on fines to serve as a deterrent for players.

Unvaccinated players miss out on game checks for weeks that they are unable to play. They can also be fined a week’s pay up to $50,000 for their first offense, per USA TODAY, and both the player and organization could face harsher fines for non-first-time offenders. Rodgers may fall into the latter category depending on what the NFL’s investigation into the matter discovers.

With that said, it seems like Rodgers will be eligible to play in Week 10 — if he can clear COVID protocol for unvaccinated players. The earliest he can return to action for the Packers is Saturday, Nov. 13. That’s one day ahead of Green Bay’s game against the Seahawks.

While the Packers will worry about Rodgers being ready for that date, the team apparently won’t have to worry about any suspension being handed down from the NFL.

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