A week ago, Aaron Rodgers hijacked the 2021 draft. The reporter who threw the biggest log onto the burgeoning fire now claims that Rodgers had nothing to do with it, and that the reporter specifically chose to drop the bomb just hours before the start of the draft.
Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that he made the affirmative decision to break the news of Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay on draft day.
“That is absolutely accurate, correct,” Schefter said when asked if he chose to break the story on draft day. “It was nothing that morning that came in that all of a sudden said to me, ‘Yeah he wants out, you should report this’. . . . It was just an accumulation of information.”
Schefter explained that, after Paul Allen of KFAN reported that the 49ers made a trade offer to the Packers, it became inevitable that the deeper story of Rodgers’ discontent was going to come out. So Schefter realized that the story that he’d been holding wasn’t going to sit much longer. So he dropped it. On the first day of the draft.
“I said, ‘How long until it gets out that Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay?'” Schefter told Dan. “It’s gonna come out. What does it matter if it comes out now or next week or next month?”
It matters because the story served as a near-total eclipse of the draft (but also may have caused more people to tune in, in order to see whether Rodgers would be traded during round one). It also matters because it peels back the curtain on the gamesmanship that can happen — and that does happen — when reporters don’t report what they know when they know it, but when they instead hold it for a later date.
If Schefter knew Rodgers wanted out before he sensed that Allen’s report would serve as the bucket of chum for a feeding frenzy of reporters, why did Schefter hold it? That makes no sense. Reporters should report what they know when they know it, and not save it for later and/or until they think it’s imminent that someone else will report it first. Especially when the story is this big.
Then there’s the possibility, frankly, that Schefter may not have his facts straight. Here’s Schefter’s original tweet on the subject, from last Thursday: “Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday.”
League and team sources told ESPN on Thursday. That’s not an accumulation. That’s something that landed in his lap that day, if we’re willing to take his tweets at their word.
Then there’s the first line of his story at ESPN.com, from that same day: “Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday.”
He could have written this: “A sense has been building throughout the offseason that Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team.” But instead he said this, on Twitter and at ESPN.com: ON THURSDAY.
So what’s the truth? The truth, as best we can tell, is that Rodgers and his camp wanted this to come out last Thursday, and that they made it happen. Regardless of whether they specifically cajoled Schefter to report it or simply lit the fuse by leaking the story of the 49ers making a trade offer to the Packers, they wanted it to happen.
Again, both the tweet and the article said “on Thursday.” All other available evidence points to the fact that it bubbled up on Thursday, regardless of whatever was said the following Thursday.
Does any of this matter to the question of whether Rodgers wants out of Green Bay? Nope. Does the notion that Rodgers didn’t deliberately drop this story on the first day of the draft tend to paint Rodgers in a more favorable light (and thus position Schefter for any and all Rodgers-related scoops to come)? Abso-freaking-lutely.