Longtime NBA legend and outspoken Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined in on the chorus of sports figures slamming Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Monday morning.
Abdul-Jabbar, in a Substack entry titled “Aaron Rodgers Didn’t Just Lie,” ripped Rodgers after he tested positive for COVID-19 and landed in the NFL’s health and safety protocols while unvaccinated — something he had misled the public about for months.
"Rodgers’ ignorance regarding the science of immunology brings back to life the old stereotype of the big dumb jock," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "His utter lack of even the most basic knowledge and logic is shocking."
Rodgers, Abdul-Jabbar said, “directly and deliberately” lied when he said he was immunized against the coronavirus — and that he hurt the image of professional athletes in general by his actions.
“What’s especially bothersome is that Aaron Rodgers didn’t just lie and threaten the health of those around him, he also damaged professional sports,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Many athletes make a lot of money on product endorsements, which depends on the public’s favorable perception of athletes. In 2020, global sports sponsorship was worth about $57 billion.
"Yet, every time a pro athlete like Kyrie Irving (anti-vax), Henry Ruggs (speeding at 156 mph, crashing, and killing someone), Evander Kane (forging vaccination card), or Aaron Rodgers does or says something stupid, the public trust in athletes lowers and sponsors might consider avoiding players in favor of actors, pop stars, or social media influencers. Steph Curry and LeBron James don’t have to worry, but some up-and-comers might not get the same opportunities.”
Abdul-Jabbar rips Rodgers’ ‘lies’
Rodgers missed the Packers’ 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday after he landed in the league’s health and safety protocols. Before that game, though, he made a lengthy appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” and turned plenty of heads with controversial comments, misinformation and more.
“I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now,” Rodgers said. “So before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I think I would like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself.”
Rodgers has since been dropped by Preva Health, which said it is still “deeply” committed to getting people vaccinated, and State Farm issued a statement about him on Monday. Rodgers appeared in just 1.5% of the almost 400 ads that ran on Sunday, down about 25%.
“Rodgers complained that the ‘cancel culture’ was coming for him, but his own words cancel him as a liar and a bad thinker,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “If he had a principled objection to the vaccine, he could have chosen not to play, like [Nets star] Kyrie Irving, who at least is honest. What really sacked his whining stance was his refusal to wear a mask during interviews to protect others from sickness and death.
"That was merely his hubris and arrogance against what he called the ‘woke mob.’ In this case, woke means compassion and responsibility toward others. He might also remember that the only reason he is able to play in front of crowds again is because all those suckers got vaccinated.”
Abdul-Jabbar ended his post with a comparison between Rodgers and former quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who “was blacklisted by the NFL for passively expressing his frustration with systemic racism.”
“Multi-millionaire Rodgers will continue to play, despite lying to the fans and his teammates and putting innocent lives in danger,” he wrote. “Time will tell whether Rodgers will be judged by the content of his character or the strength of his throwing arm.”