State Farm publicly supports NFL’s Aaron Rodgers after his vaccine comments—while quietly removing most of his ads
After a wild interview claiming he was “in the crosshairs of the woke mob” and a “cancel-culture casket” and sharing he was not vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was dropped from a nine-year partnership with health group Prevea Health on Saturday. Meanwhile, his long-standing advertising partner State Farm is publicly standing by Rodgers, even as it quietly removed most of his commercials about the “Rodgers Rate” from the air this weekend.
Rodgers, who recently tested positive for the coronavirus, told The Pat <em>McAfee</em> Show on Friday that he is unvaccinated because of an allergy to an ingredient in mRNA vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna, and because of concerns about fertility. The CDC has said there is no evidence that any vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men.
Earlier in August he told media outlets that he was “immunized” when asked about his vaccination status.
“Look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax, flat earther,” Rodgers said on the talk show. “I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something. Health is not a one-size-fits-all for everybody.”
The quarterback also referred to the August press conference as a “witch hunt” and maintained he didn’t intend to deceive anybody by using the word “immunized.” In fact, he said that everyone on the team and the National Football League was aware of his unvaccinated status. But the NFL launched an investigation Thursday into whether Rodgers and the team had broken COVID-19 protocols.
Rodgers has been criticized by fans and the media for his misleading language. Host of Fox NFL Sunday and former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers Terry Bradshaw addressed the news on Sunday’s pregame show, saying Rodgers “lied to everyone.”
Prevea Health announced its decision to end its partnership with Rodgers a day after his interview. In a statement, it said it “remains deeply committed to protecting its patients, staff, providers, and communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” which includes “encouraging and helping all eligible populations to become vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Rodgers’s other major advertising partner, State Farm, told Ad Age “it would be inappropriate to comment on Aaron’s vaccination status” immediately following the news. But the numbers show a significant drop in the number of ads the insurance company has run featuring Rodgers. Data collected by sports analytics group Apex Marketing showed that while over the past two Sundays Rodgers was featured in 25% of all State Farm television ads, he only appeared in 1.5% of its ads this Sunday.
“Aaron Rodgers has been a great ambassador for our company for much of the past decade. We don’t support some of the statements that he has made, but we respect his right to have his own personal point of view. We recognize our customers, employees, agents, and brand ambassadors come from all walks of life, with differing viewpoints on many issues,” State Farm said in a statement to Fortune. “Our mission at State Farm is to support safer, stronger communities. To that end, we encourage vaccinations, but respect everyone’s right to make a choice based on their personal circumstances.”
State Farm did not comment on whether it planned to continue to cut back on featuring Rodgers in future commercials.
The three-time MVP was unable to play in Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs owing to COVID-19 protocols. He recently provided over 500 documents to the NFL, detailing a homeopathic, holistic treatment to protect him against the coronavirus while on the field. His petition to be considered vaccinated, and therefore not subject to protocols that unvaccinated players must follow inside and outside team facilities, was denied.
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