Aaron Rodgers

On this date in 1983, Aaron Rodgers, National Football League quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, was born in Chico, California. Rodgers, who played college football for the California Golden Bears while attending UC-Berkeley, led the Packers to a Super Bowl championship in the 2010-11 season. Completing 24 of 39 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns, Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP. Rodgers has frequently led the NFL in touchdown-to-interception ratio, passer rating, touchdown passing percentage, touchdown passes and yards per attempt.

In August 2017, he was the subject of a 5,000-word profile in ESPN The Magazine. In the profile, Rodgers spoke about growing up with devout Christian parents. While Rodgers “absorbed the religion’s traditional tenets,” he said he remembered encountering “aspects of dogma that left him dissatisfied” at a young age. The profile speaks of Rodgers meeting “teammates who grew up in different parts of the world” and “friends with different religious backgrounds” and how that experience encouraged his skepticism.

Then, in 2008, he met a progressive Christian pastor, Rob Bell, and their friendship contributed to Rodgers becoming “increasingly convinced that the beliefs he had internalized growing up were wrong, that spirituality could be far more inclusive and less literal than he had been taught.” Rodgers said that “he no longer identifies with any affiliation.”

Rodgers was in a relationship with actress Olivia Munn from 2014-17. He started dating former race-car driver Danica Patrick in 2018. In December 2019 on Patrick’s podcast “Pretty Intense,” he talked about the absurdity of religious claims. “I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet, you know, to a fiery hell. Like, what type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn most of his beautiful creation to a fiery hell at the end of all this?”

Rodgers became embroiled in controversy in November 2021 after he contracted COVID-19 and it was revealed he was not vaccinated. He claimed he was “immunized” by alternative treatments and credited controversial podcaster Joe Rogan for helping him devise an anti-viral protocol. After being roundly criticized for lying about his vaccination status and potentially endangering teammates and others, he issued what many deemed a half-hearted apology for “comments that people might have felt were misleading,” he was fined $14,650 and the team was fined $300,000. Considering his $33 million annual salary, the size of his fine was also criticized.

PHOTO: Rodgers in the 2016 wild-card game against the Redskins; Keith Allison photo under CC 2.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation