The NFL has concluded its investigation into whether Aaron Rodgers and the Packers broke the league’s COVID-19 protocols following news that the Green Bay quarterback tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.
Circumstantial evidence in the wake of the news suggested the team would be liable for penalties, as Rodgers — who is unvaccinated — was seen boarding the team charter and talking to reporters indoors without a mask. The question then became how severe the penalties would be, and whether it would result in a suspension.
MORE: Packers’ Aaron Rodgers acknowledges ‘misleading’ vaccination comments, doesn’t think he’ll win MVP again
Here’s everything you need to know about the NFL’s investigation and what penalties Rodgers and the Packers faced as a result:
How much were the Packers fined?
After the conclusion of the NFL’s review on Tuesday, the Packers organization was reportedly fined $300,000 for violating league protocols (via ESPN’s ESPN’s Rob Demovsky). Other teams that have been fined for breaking COVID-19 protocols include the Saints, Raiders ($500,000 apiece), Patriots and Titans ($350,000 apiece).
Packers president Mark Murphy commented on the league’s findings and the fine.
“We respect the League’s findings and we recognize the importance of adherence to the COVID protocols to keep our team and organization safe and healthy,” Murphy said in an official statement. “We will continue to educate the team regarding the importance of protocols and remain committed to operating within the protocols.”
Additionally, the league warned the Packers that future violations of the COVID protocols could result in “escalated discipline,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which could include a change in draft position or a loss in draft choices.
MORE: NFL vaccine rules, explained
How much was Aaron Rodgers fined?
Rodgers and receiver Allen Lazard were both fined $14,650 for violating the rules. To put this number in perspective, Rodgers makes a base salary of $14.7 million this year alone. Therefore, this fine only equates to 0.00099 percent of his base salary. Lazard’s base salary is $850,000, but the fine is still only 0.017 percent of his base salary.
Here are the violations the NFL found that Rodgers, Lazard and the Packers violated. First, because Rodgers is unvaccinated, he broke COVID protocol by not wearing a mask in news conferences. The team also did not report a Halloween party that both Rodgers and Lazard attended. Even though the party did not take place in the team’s facility and was not considered a team function, it still violated the protocol that states unvaccinated players cannot gather in groups of more than three.
The league also reviewed a video during their investigation that showed inside the club facility and found a few instances of Rodgers and Lazard not wearing masks in the facility. Outside of these few instances, the investigation concluded that there was no “wide-spread or systematic mask-wearing violation,” via ESPN.
Not only were Aaron Rodgers and Allen Lazard fined $14,650 each for the Halloween party, the party played into the team’s $300,000 fine, too. It wasn’t a team function, but the team knew about it after, didn’t fine them and didn’t report the violations. A message to other clubs.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 10, 2021
Rodgers and Lazard are both unvaccinated, but a fine was expected to come out of their positive tests. Since they are unvaccinated, they miss out on game checks in weeks that they can’t play in. Additionally, they can be fined for a week’s pay up to $50,000. If the players don’t follow COVID protocols again, they could be fined more in the future. The league currently does not have any rules stating that players will be suspended for breaking protocol.
MORE: Why Packers’ Aaron Rodgers likely won’t be suspended for NFL COVID protocol violations
With the circumstances revolving around Rodgers and whether or not he lied about being vaccinated (he stated in August that he was “immunized”), it was thought that he would be fined more than $14,650, especially because he collects a large salary.
Rodgers could return to the field in Week 10 in the Packers’ matchup against the Seahawks. His 10-day quarantine will end on Saturday, Nov. 13. If he clears COVID examination then, he will be eligible to play on Sunday.