Let Aaron Rodgers Be Aaron Rodgers
Pity the modern NFL quarterback, required to possess the intellect to memorize and execute a playbook of Talmudic length and complexity — and then forbidden to display that intellect anywhere other than on the field.
Aaron Rodgers, as you may know by now, played amateur press critic the other day. Surprise surprise, he watches a lot of sports TV and has some non-publicist-approved thoughts about who knows what they’re talking about (Jon Gruden, Trent Dilfer) and who doesn’t (Tony Kornheiser, Ron Jaworsky). The predictable blowback was not long in arriving, leading to a statement of regret, though not an outright apology, from No. 12.
I get why Mike McCarthy would want his quarterback to stick to his media-training script, but Greg Bedard? You’d think a professional sportswriter would appreciate it when an athlete gets colorful and digressive in an interview. But there was Bedard in a (subscriber-only) chat with readers ripping Rodgers for generating “a complete waste of time and a distraction” with his remarks.
“Distraction” is the magic word here. Yes, the Packers have had too many of those lately. But calling Tony Kornheiser a braying jackass isn’t the same as tangling with prostitutes or getting into motorcycle crashes. Hell, even Kornheiser’s mom thinks Kornheiser’s a braying jackass — that’s his charm.
The NFL, and the pro sports establishment in general, seems to be under the impression that extreme personal boringness on the part of athletes is the key to team success and league profitability. Is it? If that’s true, it’s sad — and I don’t think it’s terribly true.
Rodgers is a bit of a goofball. He’s fond of silly pranks. He has a record label with a cheesy name. And, apparently, he gets fed up watching ESPN sometimes. Good for him, and for the fans. If a player who does absolutely everything right can’t run his mouth once in a while without consequences, the NFL really has become the No Fun League.