Welp, Aaron Rodgers certainly made it easier for me to stop caring about sports.
There’s no comedian, musician, actor, or artist who could have disappointed me more than Aaron Rodgers disappointed me this week. And what he did isn’t close to the worst thing any of my former heroes have done. He’s not an open Trump supporter like Mariano Rivera, Paul O’Neill, or Brett Favre, hasn’t engaged in generally idiotic criminal behavior like Johnny Jolly, Sean Avery, or Brett Favre, and has never been accused of abusive or predatory behavior or violence like David Cone, Robin Van Persie, or Brett Favre. For Christ’s sake, I’m willing to do the mental gymnastics to continue to root for the New York Knicks despite everything that’s happened for the last 20 years, and the fact that their recent resurgence is in no small part fueled by Derrick Rose.
There’s a sense of betrayal with Aaron Rodgers, though, because, for the past decade-plus, I’ve convinced myself that he is not only one of the greatest athletes to ever play for a team I root for, but that he, himself, was a fun dude to root for.
Every year he’d have some kind of quip that became a team rallying point (“R-E-L-A-X”, “Run the Table“, and even earlier this year, “I fucking own you“). He hates his conservative family, went to Berkeley, is an atheist who mocked a rival quarterback’s evangelism, and was outspoken about Colin Kaepernick. He was always noted for having an overwhelming ego, which clashed with management and coaches, but when it’s a feud between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy, you’re always going to side with Aaron Rodgers.
All the signs that could be interpreted as awesome attributes of a closet leftist who has to keep his politics in check playing for a team owned by fans who have consistently voted Republican for decades. But they could just as easily point to a Joe Rogan acolyte. Turns out, it’s the latter. If he’s a Bernie supporter, he’s the kind of Bernie supporter that, as a friend of mine put it, comes from Lydon LaRouche.
I didn’t know about Shailiene Woodley’s homeopathic anti-science stuff. I didn’t know anything about Rodgers’ relationship with Miles Telfer, or Miles Telfer’s deal at all. Maybe I didn’t want to know. Maybe I would have chosen to believe something else until reality forced my hand.
My ability to justify watching the NFL in spite of all morality to the contrary was already hanging by a thread. Now…what’s the best-case scenario? My favorite team wins the Super Bowl, with this idiot getting validation? The Jets, my other favorite team, come back from the dead? Jordan Love becomes an NFL legend, then turns out to be an asshole 15 years from now?
I need a sabbatical at the very least, but this feels like a straw that broke the camel’s back. All my Packers jerseys are going to Goodwill. I’m donating to the Concussion Legacy Foundation every remaining month of this football season.
I can stomach a lot of moral shades of gray when it comes to sports. But this story feels like a loved one dying.