With his first season as the quarterback of the New York Jets set to kick off on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills, Aaron Rodgers just couldn’t resist reinserting himself into the COVID-19 conversation that no one else but him wants to keep having.
Well, practically no one else.
While watching Novak Djokovic play at the US Open in Queens, Rodgers, who lied about his vaccination status before coming down with COVID-19 and having to miss a game two seasons ago, praised the Serbian superstar for his tennis skills as well as his anti-vaxxer status. Unable to compete at Flushing Meadows in 2022 because he was not allowed to fly to into the United States as a foreign citizen who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, Djokovic won his match on Sunday night and is set to take on American Taylor Fritz on Tuesday afternoon.
Posting to social media while watching the 23-time Grand Slam champion at Arthur Ashe Stadium over the weekend, Rodgers put a goat emoji next to the hashtag “#novaxdjokovic” over an image of Djokovic preparing to serve, along with the caption “Bucket list ✅ being able to witness the greatness of @djokernole in person at #arthurashestadium.”
The one-time Super Bowl winner also crossed out the logo of a Moderna ad on a side panel alongside the court with a red line. Moderna, of course, is a pharmaceutical company that manufactured one of the most-used COVID-19 vaccines.
With the NFL season so close to starting and expectations for the Jets higher than they have been in years, it’s a little bothersome that Rodgers would feel it important to remind the world about his vaccination status. If nothing else, it’s a sign that he’s focused on issues other than beating the Bills and that he’s still very much the same guy he was in Green Bay despite having a chance at a fresh start in New York. Rodgers could have let sleeping dogs lie but, for whatever reason, just couldn’t do it. If the Jets lose to the Bills and he gets asked about it afterward, he’s got no one to blame but himself. The same thing will be true if karma intervenes and he gets COVID-19 again.
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“It was a pleasure to have Aaron in the stands tonight for the match,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference in New York. “I’m hoping he enjoyed himself.”
“I try to maintain and nurture relationships with athletes from different sports because, as an athlete, of course I relate to them,” he added. “I identify myself with what they are doing and I can understand the pain, the sacrifice, the dedication.”
And their vaccination status. Go Fritz.