A conservative media personality uses the quarterback's injury as an excuse to rant against ayahuasca, which he deems "a crummy substitute for God."
Psychedelics have enjoyed a steady wave of glowing media coverage since a research renaissance has led to more mainstream acceptance, but at least one media personality is still hooked on fear mongering. Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly tore into NFL star Aaron Rodgers last week for tearing his Achilles tendon on the field — a season-ending injury that Kelly is holding psychedelics accountable for.
“He lost the eye of the tiger,” Kelly told his viewers while replaying footage of the Jets quarterback being sacked by Leonard Floyd of the Buffalo Bills. “Something happened to this guy. And I think I know what it was—drugs!”
“He got involved in psychedelics, this ayahuasca tea; something like that, that gives you this, ‘Oh, I love you bro,’ kind of mentality,” Kelly continued in his rant. “It’s not good, and he took it, and he encouraged others to do the same, and I think it was a very harmful message.”
Drugs have long been a conservative scapegoat, but this instance is particularly puzzling, and therefore amusing, because ayahuasca was not on the field, nor was it in Rodgers' system. What was there, as clear as day, was a 240-pound linebacker plowing into the 39-year-old QB from behind, packing extra strain on a previously injured calf.
Dr. Robert Glatter, a former sideline physician for the Jets and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, gave USA Today his professional opinion on the cause of the injury, without any mention of psychedelics or ayahuasca tea.
“The sudden movement of his heel and foot upward, with the weight of Leonard Floyd on his back, along with his prior calf strain were important factors leading to his complete Achilles tendon rupture,” Glatter said, adding, “His age was also a factor, and perhaps the type of turf.”
But in Kelly's eyes, none of this would have ever happened had Aaron Rodgers chosen church over ayahuasca ceremonies. The right-wing media personality proceeded to roll footage of the football player talking about the “deep self-love and healing” he gained from ayahuasca trips, and then commented, “What? Um. How about going to church?”
Kelly continued to declare, “Whatever the hell he’s talking about, ayahuasca tea is a crummy substitute for God. I’m sorry, but this stuff comes from who knows where, and you drink it, and you totally trip out.”
It's true. If you drink ayahuasca, you will take a trip through the mind. And that's about the only thing the television personality gets right in his projection of his own fear and ignorance around a subject that Rodgers has been openly discussing in interviews.
First of all, ayahuasca is not a drug; it has historically been considered a medicine, used religiously by South America's Indigenous peoples for thousands of years, and is legal for ceremonial use in specified churches in the United States, as well.
Secondly, we know exactly where it comes from: two plants, Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, brewed together to make a tea with an active DMT compound that induces powerful mystical experiences, which participants of a variety of different faiths have described as profoundly spiritual.
Kelly's assessment that Rodgers has lost the “eye of the tiger” due to psychedelics is also ill informed. In fact, Aaron Rodgers himself credits his ayahuasca experience for all the success that made him an NFL star in the first place. “I did ayahuasca in 2020 and I won two MVPs,” Rodgers told Erin Andrews in 2022. “I don't believe that it’s a coincidence.”
The ultimate irony here, though, is that while Kelly chides Rodgers for spreading a “harmful message,” he doesn't realize the harm of his own messaging to thousands of impressionable viewers.
According to Kelly, loving thy neighbor, or as he put it, thy bro, is a negative attribute, despite it being the fourth commandment sent down from God Himself in the Old Testament, and then endorsed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament, too. Perhaps Kelly should consider going to church before recommending athletes do.
Furthermore, even though is Kelly is a Marine Corps veteran himself, he is apparently oblivious to the avalanche of research and testimonials proving psychedelics to be very beneficial for veterans suffering from PTSD and other issues stemming from their service. With so many brothers in arms finding relief through psychedelic therapy, Kelly should think more carefully about using his airtime to demonize their salvation.