FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers crossed an item off his sports bucket list — and then made a statement with a more visible crossout.
The New York Jets quarterback attended the U.S. Open on Sunday, something he said he'd like to do for the first time since he's playing in the New York/New Jersey area after 18 years with the Green Bay Packers.
To mark the occasion, Rodgers posted a picture on a since-expired Instagram story of No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic from his seat with the words: "Bucket list" with a green check mark emoji, along with, “being able to witness the greatness of (at)djokernole in person at #arthurashestadium.”
Above the picture of Djokovic, who's about to serve, Rodgers used a red line to cross out a Moderna logo on an ad on a side panel. He also posted a goat emoji with the hashtag: “novaxdjokovic.”
The 36-year-old Djokovic reached his record 47th Grand Slam semifinal after not being able to play in the U.S. Open last year because he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Well, I’m a big fan of Novak and I got to see him in person,” Rodgers said. “I took that photo and then realized that there was a little Moderna sign in the background. Novak is one of the most fit athletes in the world and I think that anybody looking at the situation realizes how ridiculous it was to not allow him into the country with (his) level of fitness and the way he takes care of his body.
"Like him, I care about health and I was just having a little bit of fun with it.”
Rodgers made headlines two years ago when he was asked about his vaccination status and said, “Yeah, I’m immunized.” The four-time NFL MVP later acknowledged misleading some people about his status, confirming he was not vaccinated, before testing positive for COVID-19 and missing one game during the 2021 season.
Rodgers had said he sought alternative treatments instead of the NFL-endorsed COVID-19 vaccinations at that time because he's allergic to an ingredient in two of the FDA-approved shots.
Djokovic plays unseeded Ben Shelton in one men's semifinal Friday, while No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz takes on third-seeded Daniil Medvedev in the other. The winners of those matches play in the final Sunday.
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Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press