When it comes to Aaron Rodgers a kernel of information can pop a thousand hot takes. The future Hall of Famer has been elevated to a level of scrutiny only seen in the sports world by the likes of LeBron James.
Does Rodgers bear some responsibility in that result? Sure. But too often the dramatics and theatrics of the fast moving sports media cycle consume anything 12 related and spit it back out like a bad game of telephone.
Rob Demovsky, an ESPN writer and perhaps the most trusted source on the Green Bay Packers, appeared on the Rich Eisen program to discuss all things Aaron. Amidst roaming topics, the skilled beat writer brought some truth to one of the larger narratives surrounding Rodgers. His behavior with the media.
“I will say this about Aaron Rodgers. He treats the local beat guys, the people who are there, the men and women who cover the team on a daily basis, pretty well.” Demovsky said. “I always felt like when I was working on a story and I wanted to ask Rodgers his viewpoint [or]his input on something he was going to give you a thoughtful answer.”
This is exactly what any close follower of the team already knew. Given respect and thoughtfulness Rodgers will give it right back. Aaron is not some holed up bridge troll snapping condescendingly at anyone who has a tape recorder and a question. In fact, according to Demovsky his true frustrations lie in one very specific place. “I think he doesn’t care for, quite frankly, the talking head shows that just want to give their opinions.” Demovsky continued. “I think what we do and what you guys do on the NFL Network is for the most part reporting based information. But certainly there are plenty of shows that are all opinion and I don’t think he has any use for that. Which is fine, that’s his prerogative.”
If any of us were in Rodgers’ situation it’s easy to assume we would have similar feelings. Being the focal point of rumors and speculation can’t be an enjoyable experience. When you are as intentionally private as Rodgers is, it’s likely downright offensive.
Eisen has been on this take for some time now. The native New Yorker seems to believe that Rodgers will struggle to handle the harsh local New York media.
Peter King recently pushed back. “But you know Aaron Rodgers is a national figure. I don’t think it matters if he plays for the Green Bay Packers or the Walla Walla Walruses. He is going to be a national figure. King confidently stated. “So if he plays in New York he’s on the back page of the Post. I’m not saying he doesn’t care. I think he cares about a lot of that stuff. But this has been his life in the past few years where everything he says is huge news. So I’ve heard this ‘oh boy, the New York media’ and I’m not discounting that totally, but I am saying I think media has changed in recent years. So with a guy like Aaron Rodgers it’s much more about the whole national scene and not oh boy he’s getting some really nice questions from the Green Bay press Gazette.”
Again, pure truth. Rodgers has been the focal point of divisiveness during one of America’s most divisive times. If he can handle his way through the criticism he received during the Covid situation, I’m sure he will be able to deal with local New York reporters trying to get a rise out of him.
All of this is not to say Rodgers’ approach should be immune from criticism. Aaron spends part of his time on the McAfee show using terms like “fake news” and prodding the “sources” for their egregious and incorrect behavior. At the same time he will instruct anyone who doesn’t like what he’s saying to “tune him out.” These situations aren’t necessarily equal but they bear a resemblance in demand
Rodgers has a worth in the American capitalist system. Rodgers’ talent is in demand and he has been paid accordingly. If you don’t like his presence you don’t have to be a part of it. That is a fair point. Similarly the demand for football content extends beyond the game. There are fans who, like Rodgers, despise the rumor mill. There is also a large contingent of fans who are obsessed with it. There is a demand for nonstop anything related to the NFL. Perhaps it’s time for Rodgers to accept that demand and take his own advice.
American society continues to drift further and further away from nuance. If you’ve watched enough Rodgers interviews you know this is one of his frustrations. In that vein, the topic of Aaron Rodgers and the media has some nuance. Multiple things can be true. Aaron treats those around him and those around the team with respect and kindness. Aaron despises dramatic talking heads. There is, whether I, Aaron, or you like it, a demand for dramatic talking heads. We all, Aaron’s haters and Aaron himself included, would be better off if we took Rodgers advice and tuned out the things we don’t care for.
If you are in the reporting and information camp the rest of Demovsky’s interview with Eisen was fantastic. Click play to watch.