Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on Kenny Mayne’s final episode of SportsCenter, at a time when Rodgers’ future with the team continues to be a major question mark.
To little surprise, Rodgers resisted making news. For the most part, he avoided doing so.
Beyond confirming that he didn’t show up for the start of the team’s OTA sessions, Rodgers avoided most questions about his status with the team.
“I’m just here so I won’t get fined, Ken,” Rodgers said initially. Mayne persisted.
“This is not about me,” Rodgers said. “This is about you. This is about years and years of watching you on TV. You, not just the highlights, but tuning in to watch you and Keith Olbermann and Stuart Scott changing the ways that late-night SportsCenters were done.”
Mayne didn’t relent.
“This isn’t what they want,” Mayne said. “They didn’t call on you for a tribute video here. You could have shot that on Instagram or something.”
“I don’t give a shit,” Rodgers said, laughing.
Mayne still kept at it, and he finally struck some semblance of paydirt. Rodgers presented a largely unrealistic ideal of the Packers organization being “about the people,” with the clear implication that he believes the people currently running the program have lost sight of that.
“It’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan [Love],” Rodgers said. “I love Jordan. He’s a great kid. Lot of fun to work together. I love the coaching staff, love my teammates. Love the fan base in Green Bay. Incredible 16 years. It’s just kind of about a philosophy, you know? And maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go.
“It’s about character. It’s about culture. It’s about doing things the right way. A lot of this was put in motion last year. The wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won the MVP and played the way I played last year. So this is just kind of I think the spill out of all that. But look, man, it is about the people, and that’s the most important thing. Green Bay has always been about the people, from Curly Lambeau being owner and founder to the ’60s with Lombardi and Bart Starr and all those incredible names to the ’90s teams with Coach Holmgren and Favre-y and the Minister of Defense to the run that we’ve been on. It’s about the people.”
But it’s really not. Saying football is “about the people” is no different that saying “football is family.” No, football is business and it’s good for business to say things like “football is family.”
For Rodgers, it’s good for his standing in the eyes of a skeptical fan base to say, “It’s about the people.”
The truth is that it’s only “about the people” to the extent it’s about people Rodgers doesn’t like. Whether it’s G.M. Brian Gutekunst, CEO Mark Murphy, or one or more others in the front office, it’s clear that Rodgers has had enough of some of the people in the Packers organization, to the point where he wants to continue his career with other people.