Bears Legend Sounds Off on Aaron Rodgers Investigation

Tillman on Rodgers Invest

Getty Charles Tillman #33 of the Chicago Bears awaits the start of play against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on October 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 13-7.

The NFL taking it easy on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers? Don’t expect Chicago Bears legend Charles Tillman to be shocked.

The NFL recently opened an investigation into the Packers and their star quarterback to determine whether Rodgers or anyone else on the team has violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols throughout the 2021 season. The news came after Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on November 3 and caused a stir about not being vaccinated, having seemingly ignored some of the protocols in place for unvaccinated players.

According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, though, the potential punishments that could come from the investigation will not include a suspension for the reigning NFL MVP or the loss of the draft picks for the team — a penalty that was imposed upon the Las Vegas Raiders during the 2020 season for their multiple violations.

Leave it to Tillman to say exactly what Bears fans are thinking: “Of course not.”

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Bears Fans Despise Perceived Bias for Packers

Tillman developed a natural rivalry with the Packers during his illustrious 12 seasons with the Bears, earning Rodgers’ respect for his hard-nosed defense and knack for forcing — or punching out — fumbles across their many battles. Rodgers even declared Tillman “HOF in my book” when congratulating him on his NFL retirement in 2016.

Some Bears fans and players, however, have long held the belief that Rodgers and the Packers are shown favoritism from the NFL and its officials due to Rodgers’ status as one of their premier quarterbacks. Their first rivalry matchup of 2021 helped reinforce that thinking with an egregious missed offsides call against the Packers and Rodgers’ post-touchdown celebration — “I still own you!” — drawing no flag for taunting.

While it might not be much of a consolation to Bears loyalists, the Packers could still end up facing some consequences for Rodgers’ off-the-field actions over the past several months. The NFL can impose fines on Rodgers and the team for any and all violations of their COVID-19 protocol that come up in their investigation. There is also the possibility that the evidence compels them to hand out a greater punishment.

What Penalties Could Packers & Rodgers Face?

Regardless of perceived bias, the NFL has laid out clear rules about its teams and players violating its COVID-19 procedures. Unvaccinated players are subject to $14,650 fines for each instance in which they violate COVID-19 protocol, which includes not wearing a mask during press conferences as Rodgers has done all season long. Players who are not fully vaccinated are also banned from large social gatherings, such as, say, a Halloween party with numerous teammates that was featured on Rodgers’ Instagram.

As Glazer noted, the NFL is looking into any potential violations involving Rodgers or the Packers that could result in punishment.

“The NFL has opened up an investigation, and when I say investigation, they’ve started virtually interviewing people like Aaron, people on the Packers to see what kind of COVID violations there were,” Glazer said. “If there were, right, you’re looking at fines. They do not suspend players. Aaron Rodgers will not be suspended for this. They’ll look at whether they fine the player or fine the team. That’s what they’re looking at now.”

One of the biggest questions about the situation seems to be whether Rodgers willfully ignored the league’s COVID-19 protocols. A handful of reporters took issue with the fact that Rodgers in August answered the question “Are you vaccinated?” with “Yeah, I’m immunized,” claiming he had been intentionally misleading.

Rodgers has since denied lying about his vaccination status on The Pat McAfee Show and was adamant during the November 5 radio appearance that he has followed every one of the league’s COVID-19 protocols “to a T” this season. He also said that the NFL has been aware of his status as an unvaccinated player since he returned to Green Bay in July, having petitioned the league to classify him as vaccinated due to his alternative immunization treatment but getting rejected.

The NFL has punished several other teams and players for their COVID-19 violations since the start of the 2020 season, making the biggest example out of the Las Vegas Raiders last year. The Raiders — counting both coaches and players — ended up receiving more than $1.2 million in total fines for their repeated violations, while the league also stripped the team of one of its sixth-round draft picks.

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