Next Monday’s commentary, If I Could Speak to House Members, is not just about the censure of Arizona Representative Paul Gosar.
“If the vaccine is so great, how come people are still getting Covid and spreading Covid and unfortunately, dying from Covid?”— Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers
Sports reporter Kurt Streeter writes, “Apparently, Rodgers missed the memo that while they are not foolproof, the vaccines are close to 90 percent effective and by far the best tools we have to beat back this plague.”
Celebrities—by virtue of their high public profile, especially sports stars—carry an unwritten expectation to lead by example.
Evidently, Rodgers doesn’t embrace that expectation, or the facts when it comes to the data on the virus and the vaccine.
“Rodgers has been spewing other falsehoods about the virus and its treatments,” Streeter writes. “So maybe he should spend time with Dr. Kyle Martin. He’s the medical director of emergency services at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and he also works at two hospitals in rural parts of the state.
“‘We’re still very much in a crisis,’ Dr. Martin, a self-described N.F.L. superfan, said when we spoke this week. ‘People are still dying in large numbers. And our health system, it’s stressed to the max. Rodgers is an icon here in our state,’ Dr. Martin said. To have him questioning the vaccine and sow vaccine doubt ‘undercuts what we’re trying to do as a health care system. It’s just tragic.’”
Currently, Wisconsin is a hot spot for Covid-19 where the primary patients in hospitals are the unvaccinated, “many who clearly take their cues from celebrities like Rodgers.”
According to the latest figures, Wisconsin is losing about 19 people per day to the virus.
“Dr. Martin suggested that Rodgers join him during an overnight shift at one of the emergency rooms where he works.”
Excellent suggestion. “Rodgers would see patients, young and old, gasping for air, wracked with pain that scorches the chest,” Streeter writes. “He would see patients pleading for a first dose of the vaccine, even though at that point it would be too late to help them recover.”
In fact, any sports star spreading misinformation about the efficacy of the vaccine and the importance in getting vaccinated, should be required by their respective leagues to show up at their local hospitals and walk the wards of the sick and dying who are suffering because they refuse a simple shot.
Rodgers said that he’s “not an anti-vax, flat earther,” but that he’s a “critical thinker.”
How much critical thinking does it take to understand how your words and actions can affect others?
The problem is that Rodgers, and others who turn away from getting a simple series of shots, don’t seem to grasp that getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting themselves, it’s about protecting others they come in contact like family, friends and teammates.
Sadly, there’s an even larger group who actively protest in front of hospitals who believe in it’s-my-right-ism.
In response to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s commentary (Fight Against Vaccines Isn’t About Freedom).
James Berkman writes (scroll down the link to find his letter), “The more the unvaccinated permit the virus to spread, the greater the chance of a new variant emerging, and the next one might find ways to sidestep the immune defenses of those of us who are already vaccinated.
“In addition to not having the ‘freedom’ to ‘dump garbage in the street,’ as Mr. Krugman so aptly puts it, there are many ‘freedoms’ that citizens sacrifice for the common good, including as well his example of vaccination requirements to attend school. There’s no ‘freedom’ to drive on the left side of the road, to run stop signs or to hit someone in the nose. Your fist’s freedom ends at the tip of my nose.”
Rodgers may be an icon on the field, but he has much to learn about how his public decisions affect others.