(NEXSTAR) — Insurance giant State Farm is sticking with Aaron Rodgers in the wake of the Green Bay Packers star’s comments doubting the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in an interview in which he positioned himself as a target of the “woke mob” and “cancel culture.”
“Aaron Rodgers has been a great ambassador for our company for much of the past decade,” a company spokesperson told Nexstar in a statement. “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. 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 company statement
Rodgers has starred in State Farm ads for years, from the “discount double check” campaign to the recent “Rodgers rate” spots.
Despite the apparent support for Rodgers after his controversial comments, State Farm does appear to have removed the quarterback from most of its adds on Sunday, according to Apex Marketing Group, a company that evaluates sponsorship and marketing analytics.
Only 1.5% of State Farm ads featured Rodgers during football games this past Sunday, the company found, compared to 15% during the previous two Sundays.
“It appears that State Farm has reduced the number of national spots, dropping off considerably as of Friday,” Apex president Eric Smallwood told Action Network, who first reported the news. “Our monitoring indicates that this wasn’t a planned reduction and more reactionary because there wasn’t any new significant ads put in its place.”
Rodgers has strongly questioned the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, along with any organization forcing health requirements on individuals.
“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,” he said Friday. “Health is not a one size fits all for everybody, and for me it involved a lot of study in the offseason.”
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. were tested in tens of thousands of people and proven to be both safe and effective at dramatically reducing the risk of serious disease and death. The vaccines now have been given to more than 200 million Americans and that real-world use plus extra government safety tracking have made clear that serious side effects are extremely rare — and that any risk is far lower than the risks posed by COVID-19.
Prevea Health partnership
A Wisconsin health care organization has ended a nine-year partnership with Rodgers after he publicly detailed his reasoning for avoiding the three COVID-19 vaccinations endorsed by the NFL.
A statement posted on Twitter by Prevea Health said the company and Rodgers mutually agreed to end their partnership, effective Saturday. Prevea Health and Rodgers had been partners since 2012.
The statement said Prevea Health “remains deeply committed to protecting its patients, staff, providers and communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes encouraging and helping all eligible populations to become vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent the virus from further significantly impacting lives and livelihoods.”
The move came a day after Rodgers told “The Pat McAfee Show” he had sought alternative treatments to COVID-19 vaccination because he is allergic to an ingredient in two of the FDA-approved shots. Rodgers, who turns 38 in December, did not say what ingredient he was allergic to, or how he knows he is allergic.
Rodgers, who has been tested daily as part of NFL protocols for unvaccinated players, found out he contracted COVID-19 on Wednesday. He can’t rejoin the Packers for 10 days and will miss Sunday’s game at Kansas City. He must have a negative test to return to the team on Nov. 13.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.