(WFRV) – Speculation is swarming around what businesses affiliated with Aaron Rodgers will do about the news of the quarterback’s vaccination status.

Back in late August, Rodgers was asked about his vaccination status. He responded by saying, “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.” Since the reports of Rodgers testing positive for COVID-19 and being unvaccinated have come to light, there is a lot of controversy surrounding his word choice of “immunized.”

But what will happen to his endorsement deals? Specifically, his partnership with Prevea Health – a group that urges people to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

Local 5 was able to sit down with Bryan Carr, Professor of Communication at UW-Green Bay, and ask him how the issue could be impacting Rodgers and the businesses affiliated with him.

“One of the big things that businesses look for when they hire someone like Aaron Rodgers is that sort of transferral of credibility. Right. That sort of ethos appeal that says this person is trustworthy, you like them, you respect them, and by extension, you will also like our product. It gives them that extra boost,” explained Carr.

“And I think you could argue, that despite some of the hiccups, that kind of thing we saw this past summer, this is a guy who had a ton of credibility. Right. This affects them because now all of a sudden that arrangement they had where that credibility transfers over isn’t quite as valid as it used to be,” continued Carr.

He goes on to explain there are a number of reasons why an athlete can lose their endorsement and when one is pulled it’s a pretty significant deal. For Prevea Health, Carr says the situation in Rodgers’ recent activity seems to be that the multi-specialty group built their reputation around health and getting people vaccinated – so since Rodgers was a partner in the deal he has dealt a significant blow to their brand.

“I don’t know what they will do. If they look at maybe getting out of that – downplay him going forward – that’s something I’m going to be really curious to see,” added Carr.

In terms of Rodgers overcoming this endorsement situation, Carr says it’s a difficult set of circumstances for him to explain since there are so many paths that could be taken. “Certainly there are things [Rodgers] could do. An apology, to start with, would be great. Understand that the main issue is not whether or not he is vaccinated, we’ve had other athletes who have been unvaccinated and they’ve made that their choice – but they have at least been upfront about it,” said Carr.

“With Rodgers, it’s not so much that he’s unvaccinated, it’s more the fact that he sort of misled the press and the public about it and, in so doing, also potentially put other people within the team, their families, his own friends and family, at risk,” added Carr. He says the second path Rodgers could take is on-field performance – if Rodgers is successful on-field he could ride it out.

However, Carr does note this does throw a wrinkle into the larger question of Aaron Rodgers’ relationship with the Packers. “Which was already tenuous going into the season. Seems like he was doing ok for a while – has now been thrown back into question because of the potential damage it could do to the team, both in health but also branding,” said Carr.

A Prevea Health spokesperson released the following statement to Local 5 when asked about the situation revolving around Aaron Rodgers:

Our focus at this time remains steadfast on the health and safety of our patients, providers, staff and communities; as well as on our efforts to help and encourage all eligible to become vaccinated for COVID-19 for the health and safety of all.

Prevea Health

For now – fans will have to wait and see how businesses affiliated with Rodgers decide to act on the recent news of his vaccination status.