Shailene Woodley’s Aaron Rodgers Defense Is Pure Clownery

Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Shailene Woodley is down bad. Her husband-to-be, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, has been exposed as a certifiable loon, and it seems the actress has no recourse but to defend him—as opposed to, I don’t know, sitting there and eating her clay. Yesterday, in response to a Daily Mail report about Rodgers grabbing a coffee in Los Angeles unmasked, Woodley wrote that news outlets need to “calm the fuck down” from “grasping at straws” when it comes to her fiancé’s choices. Woodley, meanwhile, was grasping at something else when she said that there’s just no way the man in the photo could be Rodgers because, in addition to the 37-year-old having “the hairiest hands on the fucking planet,” his “feet, ahem...are a LOT bigger...this is oblivious homie.” Bozos in sickness and in health, they say.

Last week, Rodgers not only tested positive for COVID-19 but was also called out for lying about it. When asked whether he was vaccinated at the beginning of the season, Rodgers said, “Yeah, I’ve been immunized,” while noting that many other guys on the Green Bay Packers hadn’t and that it’s still a personal choice. For months, Rodgers spent time around his teammates, fans, and the media—sometimes sans mask—while claiming he was vaccinated, thereby endangering an untold number of people.

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After being exposed as a public health menace, Rodgers appeared on The Pat McAfee Show, where he has a regular guest spot, to not only deny the fact that he very clearly lied about being vaccinated and blame the “woke mob” for chastising him for lying, but also claimed that Joe Rogan was the brilliant thought leader that led him to ivermectin as a treatment—which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given that Rogan himself caught COVID a couple months ago.

There are a lot of things that don’t make sense about this story, but Woodley’s frustration toward the media is almost de rigueur. She fits in the same class of “concerned loved one” as Jon Stewart coming to the defense of Dave Chappelle following his transphobic comments, or fans of the recently embattled Alec Baldwin when it was revealed that his wife had lied about being Spanish, or the Barbs who refuse to criticize Nicki Minaj over her alleged attempts to ruin the life of a sexual-assault survivor in order to salvage her sex-offender husband’s reputation. It doesn’t matter what side of the proverbial political pew one sits on: When a celebrity is caught in a lie, all of a sudden it’s the “woke mob’s” fault.

It’s very fascinating to watch liberals do this dance. Woodley is a good example of someone who checks off all the boxes. She’s a Bernie fan, supporting the democratic socialist’s presidential campaign in both 2016 and 2020. She protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline and was arrested for criminal trespassing while doing it—which, as we know, is some sort of feather in the cap for celebrity activists. She even plus-one’d activist Calina Lawrence at the 2018 Golden Globes, positioning herself as a white woman that Got It. But I suppose all of that performance went to hell once love and big feet got involved. Now, as her fiancé—and the team—endanger countless people by not following coronavirus protocols, the real is coming through. Woodley wouldn’t give two shits about those working next to Rodgers, who’s put them in a particularly harmful environment. Rodgers, for the record, broke protocol by not wearing a mask to news conferences, and the team failed to report a Halloween party that Rodgers and receiver Allen Lazard attended which broke protocol for unvaccinated players. The NFL has since handed down meager fines to Rodgers, Lazard and also the Packers for not properly enforcing the rules.

Last Friday, in order to stave off the “final nail” in his “cancel culture casket” (his words), Rodgers said he had a very concrete reason as to why he didn’t get vaccinated: that he’s allergic to a curiously unspecified ingredient in COVID vaccines and had heard that multiple people had “adverse events” while taking the Johnson & Johnson jab. Rodgers, naturally, never went into detail. Woodley, for her part, hasn’t discussed her fiancé’s decision to not get vaccinated—or whether she is or not—but has instead reposted a number of silly articles from the Daily Mail in order to reframe this as some sort of tabloid witch hunt against her fiancé versus media outlets attempting to hold him accountable for his harmful actions.

Everything these two knuckleheads have said regarding this circus feels couched in bad faith. It might go down a little better if, like fellow athlete Kyrie Irving, Rodgers came out and just said he’s skeptical of the vaccine with his chest. At the very least the people around him would know to keep a safe distance while he walked around the facilities unmasked. Maybe he’d even garner some sympathy from the hyper-allergic crowds out there who’d lacked a certain kind of representation. Instead, he took the coward’s route.

And listen, if Shailene Woodley has no problem getting married to a guy who could only “speak his truth” once it was clear that he lied and willingly put many people in danger, she can have it. If she is fine being with someone who considers Joe Rogan a medical expert, go right on ahead. If she’s cool loving a white man who needlessly, callously cited Martin Luther King Jr. so that he could rationalize lying and putting people at risk, be my guest. The pandemic era has revealed just how little celebrities have ever cared about the rest of us. Hopefully we’ve been taking notes.

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