This post was initially published in gpublicity’s newsletter, SIDEbar, November 11, 2021.
I, I, I, me, me, me …
If Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers approached his regularly scheduled hit with the Pat McAfee Show this week to tame widespread criticism that followed his Friday appearance, I don’t think it worked.
If Rodgers’ feelings were hurt, as reported, because of the backlash from his 46-minute ramble last week, he didn’t give the public, NFL and Packers fans, any reason to change their minds. This week’s show was more of a, “if I offended anyone …” kind of statement. There were no apologies, just acknowledgment that he spoke about a heated topic.
Yes, Aaron, it’s sensitive. COVID has killed more than 750,000 Americans. Rodgers’ boasting that he defers to podcasters of questionable words during a health crisis that affects all of us doesn’t help him regain any of the PR points he lost last week. (Oh, the words I’ve heard …)
With people from every corner of media and entertainment still mocking him, Rodgers returned to McAfee’s show and said he knows he deceived people and “owned it,” but continued the focus on him and revealed no compassion for teammates or staff he may have infected at 1265 Lombardi Avenue and beyond.
The one smart thing Rodgers said was that all he wants now is to focus on football. If there was ever a time I’d suggest someone to play, not spray (toxic messages), it’s this.
Rodgers’s reputation as being a smart guy on and off the football field is one he worked years to cultivate. In one interview, he damaged his off-the-field one when he contradicted everything from science to common sense and continued to focus the situation on himself in the midst of a public health crisis.
While winning will mask a lot of ills in the long run, he’ll have to meet the media when he returns to the Packers, and he should expect pointed questions about his COVID comments. If he’s evasive and plays word games again, the tabloid treatment will continue. For now, the MVP holds the title of ED — Extreme Diva. In a league with more than a few of them, it takes a special talent to take that crown.