Dear State Farm:

To some extent, great marketing is about using influence strategies and tactics to get other people to purchase your product. And while many companies and leaders are fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity, they are unlikely to experience long-term success. In that light, I have watched the COVID vaccination debacle of Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the past several days. And should his use of ‘alternative COVID-19 immunization’ be true, I respect his decision to pursue such therapies. If however, should Rodgers’ statements be proven deceitful, then all he’s accomplished was placing so many others at risk for undue COVID exposure. Under those circumstances, should State Farm continue to keep Rodgers as spokesperson, the company then becomes duplicit. 

Yeah, I’m immunized,” he said during a preseason interview. I understand the nature of the game of football, where athletes dedicate untold hours to both mental and physical training to compete at the National Football League level. I understand the statistics: Only 1.6% college-level players are drafted by an NFL team. So, Rodgers’ has the right to decide what to put into his body. What enrages me is that Rodgers’ right to abstain from COVID-19 should not be at the peril of another.

I work for a major medical organization. Since February of 2020, my life has been COVID-19. For the past 20 months and 20 days, I have worked on the healthcare frontlines and tracked COVID-19 statistics, sometimes without break. As of this writing, over 46 million U.S. residents have been infected by the COVID-19 virus. More than 751,000 have died. I have lost coworkers to this virus. I’ve wrestled with loss. I lost my ex-wife, a mother-in-law, and father to COVID. Many of those in the non-Rodgers world, lost somebody. Many others also lost something, including jobs, a relationship, a big break, a last chance, and the opportunity for a final goodbye. Instead, final goodbyes came via FaceTime and many deceased were placed into the hospital morgues, only to be cremated, and either returned or disposed. And one moment, just before Christmas 2020, I pondered, “When this is going to be over? What if, anything, will change?” Where is the leadership?

If leadership is established by authenticity and self-accountability, then Rodgers failed. If State Farm continues to employ Rodgers as a commercial spokesperson, then State Farm suffers from the same lack of credibility Rodgers has exhibited. Then again, what do I know. I don’t know about big marketing commercials. I don’t know about the level of effort to produce a humorous quality commercial for the NFL market. But I do know COCID death. I’ve seen it close, up-front, and personal. I also know that if I were a State Farm employee and did what Rodgers supposedly did, then I would likely be terminated.

Then again, I am just one customer. For over the past decade, all my insurance has been through State Farm, including several cars, condominium, umbrella insurance, etc. But if the leadership of State Farm accepts this level of deceit and duplicity from Aaron Rodgers and continues his advertising sponsorship, then I can fire State Farm for my personal insurance needs.