The guy who reportedly wanted his team’s G.M. to be fired apparently wants some media members to lose their jobs, too.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who seems to be using his weekly visits with Pat McAfee for a Festivus-style airing of grievances, sounded off on Tuesday about those who dared to question whether his off-field drama or sideline demeanor may have contributed to his team’s jarring 38-3 season-opening loss to the Saints.
“It’s absolute horseshit to give a platform to people who have no idea what they’re talking about as far as my mental state and, you know, my focus, my work habits. People that have not been around me, that are not in my life, I don’t have communication with them, are not in the locker room,” Rodgers told McAfee and former teammate A.J. Hawk. “That’s just chickenshit. It’s so ridiculous that people get a platform to do this, and it’s the same type of people.”
If Rodgers has a problem with those who criticized him based on Week One — and he clearly does — Rodgers has a problem with many people. The criticism was widespread, culminating in a Sunday open-reason roundtable on CBS, with everyone piling on and Nate Burleson and Bill Cowher making the most pointed comments.
Burleson accused Rodgers of “making it about himself” and that “his disposition was bad on the sideline” in Week One. Cowher said Rodgers “looks very selfish, he almost looks aloof.” Cowher then said it looked like Rodgers didn’t care.
“Show me you care,” Cowher said. “Show me it’s important to you. That the team is more important than you are. And right now I have not seen that.”
Rodgers, who definitely cares about the criticism (even though he shouldn’t), nevertheless seems to think the criticism is coming from a more narrow group of media members.
“What’s crazy to me is to let one storyline, by a person who has no contact with me, zero relationship, that becomes some sort of narrative that’s out there, that now I somehow don’t care about ball because of my Zen attitude during the offseason,” Rodgers told McAfee and Hawk, via USA Today.
The storyline was hardly crafted by any one person. Many have questioned whether his “Zen attitude” (some would describe it differently, and have) impacted the team in Week One. He skipped all of the offseason program. He didn’t work out with his receivers at all after the NFC Championship loss to Tampa Bay. He claims that he entered the last weekend before reporting for training camp with retirement a 50-50 possibility. Then, he stood before reporters and aired out dirty laundry — to the delight of those in the media who had their reports regarding the dysfunction confirmed and vindicated. Finally, in a sit-down with Erin Andrews of Fox Sports that aired hours before the blowout loss to the Saints, Rodgers again gave clear and obvious credence to his desire to be traded and his temptation to retire.
This isn’t some hot take or fringe opinion crafted in hyperbolic fashion for attention. (By the way, Rodgers’s comments about the metrics and measurements and motivations for modern media operations are flat out incorrect.) The criticism of Rodgers flowed naturally from his team’s performance in the first real game after months of dysfunction that he either deliberately wanted or consciously allowed to exist once it became the biggest story in sports.