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Aaron Rodgers stirs controversy over COVID vaccines within the NFL

On Tuesday, New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers challenged Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce to a debate on COVID vaccines and their effectiveness. Rodgers issued this challenge following Kelce's recent surge in popularity, attributed to his rumored relationship with singer Taylor Swift and his pro-vaccine stance.

The differing stances of these athletes on COVID vaccines have created tension between them in recent weeks, with Rodgers making fun of Kelce for partnering with COVID vaccine manufacturer Pfizer and participating in a campaign encouraging Americans to get their flu and COVID vaccines this fall. Rodgers even referred to Kelce as "Mr. Pfizer," which elicited a response from both Kelce's supporters and Jets fans, who jokingly referred to Rodgers as "Mr. Johnson & Johnson" due to the Jets being owned by Woody Johnson, the inheritor of the Johnson & Johnson family fortune.

In an interview last week, Kelce shrugged off Rodgers' comments, stating, "Who would have thought I'd end up in a vaccine war with Aaron Rodgers, man? Mr. Pfizer versus the Johnson & Johnson family over there."

Following Kelce's response, Rodgers made his usual weekly appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" without directly mentioning the tight end. However, one of Rodgers' comments appeared to be directed at Kelce. Rodgers remarked, "I made a minor joke about a guy promoting a potentially corrupt company, and suddenly everyone loses their minds."

Subsequently, Rodgers proposed a debate between him and Kelce during the show, one that would center on the effectiveness of COVID vaccines. He suggested, "Mr. Pfizer said he didn't expect to be in a vaccine war with me. This isn't a war, my friend. It's just a conversation. But if you'd like to have a debate, have me on your podcast or come on the show, and we can have a discussion."

It's worth noting that Rodgers has been a controversial figure in the media due to his statements on COVID vaccines. In 2021, he claimed to be "immunized" against COVID-19 but later admitted to NBC that he had misled his fanbase and the public. Meanwhile, Kelce has consistently maintained his pro-vaccine stance.

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