Former Green Bay Packers quarterback (and current New York Jets QB) Aaron Rodgers was the keynote speaker at the Psychedelic Science 2023 convention in Denver on Wednesday with friend and podcaster Audrey Marcus. He had a thing or two to say about his life experience “trips” with psychedelics and about the critics who come after him for those experiences.
The 39-year-old Rodgers has been open about his experiences with Ayahuasca, a psychoactive tea made from Amazonian plants, taken as part of a spiritual ritual that is purported to open one’s mind and produce hallucinations. In the past, the four-time MVP has credited the substance with allowing him to be “way more free at work, as a leader, as a teammate, as a friend, as a lover.”
On Wednesday, Rodgers affirmed his positive view on psychedelics.
“I’m telling you, it is radically life-changing and it’s wild to be in a locker room and look over and just know, like, I’ve been in the maloca [an ancestral cabin-like housing used by indigenous people of the Amazon, where Ayahuasca is taken]. It’s pretty special. It changes the dynamic, for sure.
“And in the process, like I said, there’s been hundreds of NFL guys who have reached out…It’s been really, really fun to be able to connect with these guys who’ve done this work or was fascinated by it and want to learn more about it.
“It just changes the dynamic when you’re in a room with somebody, you’re in a huddle with somebody, on a team with somebody, you’re talking, and like man, I’ve been there with you and that’s my brother.
“When I first did ‘’aya’’ in 2020, I remember thinking afterwards, like, I’m going to have to talk about this at some point. Are people ready? How will it be received? Then I won MVP. Then I did it again. I said OK, I can probably talk about it now. But the cool thing has been the response. Not from the media that calls me a druggie, a hippie or whatever it was.”
Rodgers then went on to advocate for the legalization and cultural acceptance of psychedelics.
“We have the opportunity to change the conversation by dispelling these archaic myths about the dangers of them or the negative side effects or whatever might be and start to share the actual wisdom and truth about it.
“It’s a permission slip for other people to stand up, talk about their own experiences, to join in and to dive in and to learn about it. And I think that’s how we move this conversation forward, is more people to be out there, comfortable talking about their own journeys. Their spiritual journey, their medicine journey, their ceremonies.
“So we can bring this to people who need it.”
As for the response to his experiences from fellow athletes and colleagues?
“The response from other people in the sports industry has been incredible,” Rodgers affirmed. “To see basketball players and baseball players and surfers, entertainers and my own teammates and colleagues across the league reach out and either share their story about their own medicine journey or ask to be a part of an upcoming one was pretty special.”
As for the critics and steadfast non-believers?
“You know, it’s going to be hard to cancel me, because, you know, the previous year, 26 touchdowns, four interceptions. We had a good season. Ayahuasca, 48 touchdowns, five interceptions, MVP. What are you going to say?
“I guarantee you all these bums who want to come after me online about my experience and stuff, they’ve never tried it,” Rodgers said. “They’re the perfect people for it. We need to get these people taking it.”