Opinion: A lot of fellow Cal Bears are wondering: Why, Aaron Rodgers, why?

Aaron Rodgers wears a Packers uniform and hat after a game.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, seen after a playoff game last January, recently tested positive for COVID-19.
(Associated Press)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.

If you’re anything like me, your elementary-age children will almost certainly be vaccinated before millions of adults who were eligible for their shots months ago. One of those adults is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the NFL’s reigning most-valuable player, and perhaps the only multimillionaire whose meatheadedness I feel not a smidgen of schadenfreude relaying, because I was a senior at UC Berkeley when he nearly took the Golden Bears to the Rose Bowl, and if we couldn’t get to Pasadena with Aaron Rodgers, we can’t get there with anyone.

All kidding aside, Rodgers’ positive COVID-19 test and the revelation that he was less than forthright last August when he said he had been “immunized” presents a microcosm of the post-vaccine pandemic — a powerful organization (the NFL) failed to mandate vaccines when it could have made a difference; a rich, healthy man who seemingly traipsed through much of the pandemic became a disease vector; and as with almost every positive case after shots started going into arms, we have yet another bewildering, daft illness that shows just how much of this ongoing crisis is self-inflicted. Die-hard Packers fan Carrie Friedman said it best on our op-ed page: Rodgers and the NFL have a lot to answer for (and no, his self-described allergy to one of the vaccine ingredients doesn’t begin to justify his past deception or his conspicuous masklessness).


Discouraging as Rodgers’ positive test and the NFL’s vaccination fecklessness may be, the most important pandemic development of late more than compensates for those setbacks: Children ages 5-11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This is huge, and not only because it affords parents like me some peace of mind knowing that our kids can finally avail themselves of the same protection to which adults like Aaron Rogers have had access for months. As The Times’ Editorial Board notes, expanding the vaccine eligibility pool to 28 million school-age children presents an opportunity to better control the pandemic and help us return to “normal,” even if the emergency authorization means it’s still too early to mandate shots for these kids. This is a point echoed by pediatricians who took to our letters page to denounce a news piece in The Times raising questions about vaccinating children.

I can relate to this piece on vaccinating children. As much of the inoculated world got back to normal and did things like book flights and attend birthday parties, households with anyone under 12 were still behaving much like we had for all of 2020, even if the parents had their shots. Author Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic anticipates some continued trepidation now that her 8-year-old can be vaccinated: “I’ll wince a bit at the change. Because there are other side effects of ‘returning to normal’ outside of vacations and hugs. After two years of being intensely on guard, there will be anxiety hangovers that will affect many of us, children included.” L.A. Times

Aaron Rodgers isn’t this week’s only big UC embarrassment. UC Santa Barbara accepted a massive donation from billionaire Charlie Munger, and evidently took that as a proxy for architectural prowess when it let him dictate the design of a hulking dorm for 4,500 students, almost all of whom would live in windowless rooms. An architect who resigned from UC Santa Barbara’s design review committee in protest took to our op-ed page to call Munger Hall “not passively habitable” and a “misguided experiment that will affect the health and safety of multiple generations of undergraduates.” The editorial board says UC Santa Barbara shouldn’t allow a billionaire donor with some crackpot ideas on communal living to experiment with its students’ sanity.

There’s something wrong at USC, and a professor of law and history at the university says it has to do with the administration’s toxic culture. Writes Ariela J. Gross: “I hate the word ‘scandal,’ because it connotes something slightly salacious and even sexy. Yet this administration continues to cover up rather than come clean. The truth is that the ethical failures of the USC administration, including the coverups, have been tragic, not sexy. The USC community needs the campus leaders to forthrightly admit mistakes, investigate failures and make known the results of those investigations. Instead, we get distractions and euphemisms.” L.A. Times

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On the climate crisis, delay has become the new form of denial. With the United Nations global warming summit in Scotland underway, climate scientist Michael E. Mann warns us to watch out for buzzwords like “adapt,” “net zero” and “carbon capture,” which imply delaying action to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, allowing us to continue to burn fossil fuels as we await the next engineering marvel that will supposedly save us. “These words offer the soothing promise of action, but all fail to address the scale of the problem,” Mann writes. L.A. Times

Let’s go lose our minds over “let’s go Brandon.” Liberals once drew applause for uttering obscenities and “Trump” in the same sentence, and now they’re all twisted up over a coded message for “F— Joe Biden”; they need to lighten up, says Jonah Goldberg. But there is a problem when elected Republicans are saying “let’s go Brandon” in speeches and embracing the insult in public. “If the left should lighten up, the right should grow up,” Goldberg writes. L.A. Times

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