Entertainment Sports Aaron Rodgers Wants COVID Debates 'Without Calling Someone Anti-Vaxxer': 'Freedom of Speech' “When did we lose the ability to respect somebody’s opinion?” Aaron Rodgers said of the criticism he received after his comments about the COVID vaccine By Vanessa Etienne Vanessa Etienne Twitter Vanessa Etienne is an Emerging Content Writer-Reporter for PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 29, 2021 11:56 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos Aaron Rodgers. Photo: Harry How/Getty Aaron Rodgers is hoping to see more "healthy debates" about the COVID-19 vaccine moving forward. During a virtual appearance on the Pat McAfee Show Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers quarterback, 37, spoke about being criticized for his comments on the COVID vaccine, sharing that freedom of speech and educational debates should be encouraged more often. "Wouldn't we all love a healthy debate," Rogers said, explaining his desire to see a debate between Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, and Dr. Peter McCullough, a cardiologist who has been criticized for spreading misinformation about COVID. "Let's have a debate. Let's hear about sides. Wouldn't that be awesome?" the NFL star added. "When did Freedom of Speech— When did we lose the ability to respect somebody's opinion?… My thoughts [on COVID-19] are just my own opinion on this matter." Aaron Rodgers Denies Having 'COVID Toe' After Positive Diagnosis, Says Injury Is a Fracture Rodgers has received a lot of public criticism since Nov. 3 when he tested positive for COVID-19 after previously stating that he had been "immunized" in August ahead of the season. Two days later, he revealed that he did not get vaccinated, claiming that he was allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccines. He also said he did not want to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because he "had heard of multiple people who had had adverse events around getting the J&J." The quarterback said that, instead, he was undergoing his own "immunization protocol," which involved taking ivermectin, a drug used foremost to treat or prevent parasites in animals. The FDA has not authorized or approved the drug for use in treating or preventing COVID-19, and in cases where it was taken, people have been hospitalized. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. During Tuesday's show, Rodgers told McAfee that he made a decision that he believes was best for him and people should be respectful of that and have conversations about it before just saying he's "canceled." "Let's have a healthy debate… We might not change our thoughts but we can't have a healthy dialogue without name calling and mud slinging and calling someone anti-vaxxers?" he said. "How are you ever going to understand your opinion better unless you hear both sides of the argument," Rodgers continued. "And that's what I would say to those who hate on me or discredit any opinion I have on the vaccine is that I've done research on both sides." During a previous appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers emphasized that though he's been outspoken about the COVID vaccine, he's not looking to be a spokesperson, sharing, "I'm an athlete, I'm not an activist. So I'm going to get back to doing what I do best, and that's playing ball." As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.