On Tuesday, Rodgers sounded off about the fact that the prank made its way to the light of day in his weekly appearance with Pat McAfee and former teammate A.J. Hawk.
The quarterback’s complaints focused on the argument that the notion of a threatened boycott of the Super Bowl is so implausible that it never should have been believed.
“I’ve given a lot less fucks the last couple years but one thing I do give a major fuck about is ridiculous narratives about me,” Rodgers said, via Jordan Bondurant of BarrettSportsMedia.com. “That topic that was brought up is so ridiculously stupid. . . . Like do I have an issue with some of the protocols? Of course. But I would never even joke about this. It’s the dumbest fucking thing. It’s so dumb I wouldn’t even joke about it, that’s how dumb it is.”
Some may wonder whether Rodgers is possibly protesting too much as to whether he would or wouldn’t joke about the possibility of drawing a line in the sand over the rules that apply to those who haven’t gotten a jab in the arm.
“Why would I play in, to the majority of people, a meaningless Week 18 game and then what I care about and train for in the offseason, and focus on during the season, and manifest thoughts to my teammates to have this on our mind, winning a Super Bowl?” Rodgers said. “You think I would do all that and play in a meaningless game to most people in Week 18 and then boycott the Super Bowl? You don’t know me.”
While the question is rhetorical, there’s a mildly plausible explanation as to why he’d play in a meaningless Week 18 game and boycott the Super Bowl. Currently, he’s not being tested every day as an unvaccinated player, due to his positive test from early November. As of two days after the NFC Championship, he’ll return to his prior status — daily testing, and a potential five-day absence if he’s in close contact with an infected person. To the extent that he thinks daily testing of an unvaccinated, asymptomatic person is stupid, he’ll be subjected to the stupidity again if/when the Packers make it to the Super Bowl. But not before then.
The threat of boycotting a meaningless Week 18 game carries no weight. The threat of boycotting a Super Bowl carries all of the weight. Rodgers, who is brilliant, surely can see that. (It’s basically the difference between stealing a billionaire’s lawn mower and kidnapping his child.) If Rodgers really wanted to get the NFL to abandon COVID protocols that don’t become fully applicable to him again until 12 days before the Super Bowl, the best time to make his power play would be after the Packers qualify for that game.
Last month, we saw how quickly the NFL and NFL Players Association will abandon and alter protocols in order to get games played. Is it really ridiculous to think that Rodgers at some point has mused about the potential impact on the NFL of a threat by the best quarterback in football to not play in the Super Bowl unless the protocols change? Especially given the fairly recent release of a movie regarding a threatened boycott of the college football national championship?
Esiason and Giannotti concluded that they were pranked. They definitely should not have talked on the air about the story at all without deciding in advance that it was a prank. We agree with Rodgers on that, completely. But we don’t agree that the notion of him privately joking about the possibility of pulling what would have been the biggest power play in the history of professional sports is too ridiculous to be given any credence whatsoever.
“You don’t know me” has recently become Rodgers’s most favorite pull-string catch phrase. To the contrary, Aaron, we do know you. We know enough after more than a decade of interviews and press conferences to be able to engage in educated speculation as to whether you’d get a kick out of kicking around the idea of telling the NFL that you won’t play in the Super Bowl if they don’t change their COVID protocols.
The fact that you’re taking the position that it’s a possibility far too ridiculous to even joke about makes me think that there’s a chance that maybe, just maybe, you did indeed joke about it.