Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he sees double standards in the safety protocols the NFL has instituted as it tries to complete a season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“You can dap up a guy after a game, but you can’t eat at the same lunch table as a teammate,” Rodgers said Tuesday on SiriusXM’s “The Pat McAfee Show.”
“You can go down to practice and hit each other and be in close contact, but you have to have Plexiglas between you and the guy next to you in the locker room. I just think some of those things to me really don’t add up.”
Rodgers added that “some of it is definitely for the optics of it, some of it probably based on science, but it’s definitely changed the season for sure.”
The two-time MVP also noted that the protocols in place may have impacted team unity because it has prevented get-togethers such as weekly dinners or Halloween parties.
“I know a lot of people don’t give any credence or don’t [care] about chemistry, but I think it’s really important,” Rodgers said.
Packers wide receiver Davante Adams agreed Wednesday that the protocols limiting team get-togethers have been a hindrance.
“Obviously in the past we’ve been able to have a lot of gatherings — Halloween stuff, Christmas stuff, going bowling, doing different events some of the players put on — so it’s gotten in the way a little bit,” Adams said. “But we just try to strengthen our connection in the building and at practice through football as much as possible.
During his Zoom session with Green Bay reporters Wednesday, Rodgers was asked what has stood out the most about dealing with COVID-19 protocols now that the season has reached its midway point. Rodgers noted how the Packers have played all their home games without fans thus far and then noted other moves the league has made to help the season continue.
“There obviously was talk about the protocols and the amount of testing we were going to do,” Rodgers said. “I think the [players association] and the owners agreed that keeping it every single day was important to making sure we had the right updates on the health of our players. I think that’s been good. I think it’s been a change, but I think we’ve done as well as we can in Green Bay. We’ve had a couple guys test positive, haven’t had the widespread stuff that so many people prognosticated about, that we weren’t going to get to this point. I think maybe some people even were hoping we wouldn’t get to this point.
“But I think the NFL and PA talking about the protocols, I think have done a nice job of setting good guidelines on how we can try to get to the end of the season. Obviously, we had some games moved and cancelled but that we got eight games in, I think, is a win. Now we’ve got to get to the end of the season.”
The Packers (6-2) had three players on the COVID-19 reserve list when they beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-17 last week. The list is for players who either have tested positive or have had close contact with someone who was infected.
Running back A.J. Dillon had tested positive. Running back Jamaal Williams and linebacker Kamal Martin were on the reserve list for having close contact with someone who had tested positive.
Linebacker Krys Barnes and quarterback Jordan Love went on the COVID-19 reserve list the day after the 49ers game. Love has since been activated.
49ers cleared of COVID-19 violations
The 49ers have been cleared of any potential violations of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols following a positive test from receiver Kendrick Bourne.
A person familiar with the investigation said Wednesday the league and union reviewed the 49ers and determined the team was in compliance of coronavirus protocols. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league made no announcement.
The investigation started last week after Bourne tested positive for the coronavirus and was placed on the COVID-19 list. Teammates Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel were also forced to miss last Thursday night’s game against Green Bay because they were determined to be “high-risk” close contacts.
The four players were then activated Friday when Bourne passed two COVID-19 tests. Bourne then tested positive again and was placed back on the list Monday but could return this week.
“It’s what you’ve heard. I mean, positive, negative, negative, positive, negative,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Those things happen I guess, and we’re all just dealing with it. I know it’s a weird situation with him. It kind of is weird though, with everybody in the world, not just our football players. So, we’re just trying to do the best with the protocols and hope that he gets cleared up to where it’s always negative and hopefully we can get him out of here later in the week.”
Shanahan was fined $100,000 and the team was docked $250,000 earlier this season because Shanahan didn’t properly wear his mask during a game.