In December, he threw his 443rd touchdown, passing Brett Favre to become the Packers’ all-time record holder. He also became the first player in the team's history to be named to 10 Pro Bowls. In all, his 37 touchdowns this season and only four interceptions are enough to make him the presumptive favorite to win MVP at his ripe age of 38.
Rodgers, previously seen as a sober thinker despite some occasional aloofness, has reduced himself to a real-life internet troll.
But Rodgers had a humiliating season, regardless — and not just because he mustered a pedestrian 225 passing yards in his final performance, a 13-10 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. When we look back on his year, everything Rodgers did on the field will be overshadowed by his selfish flouting of Covid-19 safety measures, his arrogant political rants and his exhausting victim mentality.
A rehash, shall we?
Rodgers was sidelined after testing positive for Covid on Nov. 3. Since the NFL has allowed Covid-positive players to continue playing if they’ve been vaccinated, Rodgers’ absence was a clear sign he hadn’t received the shots. This surprised many, since he’d previously — and evasively — claimed he’d been “immunized” against the virus. Then, after being called out for being deceitful, he accused a “woke mob” of trying to “cancel” him. Doctors be damned, in Rodgers’ view, he knows who the true “experts” are.
Or so he thinks.
Rodgers said he got tips on beating the virus from Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host who has become a key source of Covid-related misinformation online. Rodgers later issued a half-hearted apology “to anybody who felt misled” by his deliberately misleading claim that he’d been immunized. “I take full responsibility" for those comments, he said — whatever that means.
Then, in late November, Rodgers invited more controversy when he said on Pat McAfee’s podcast that he was suffering from “Covid toe,” a painful symptom causing severe soreness. He later claimed he was joking, and he slammed media outlets that reported his own words as fact.
He called it “disinformation,” evidently disregarding the fact he was the one who shared it.
Rodgers leaned in to his status as an up-and-coming conservative icon earlier this month when he touted Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” in a national interview. The book is essentially required reading for many conservatives.
He’s suffered a moral defeat this year, and he’s hemorrhaged much of the respect many people have had for him.
In a recent ESPN interview, Rodgers suggested he mentioned the book — you guessed it — as a kind of joke. But he showed his true colors as that interview went on, revealing he's bought in to more right-wing conspiracies. At one point, he criticized President Joe Biden’s “fake White House” for its messaging on Covid safety, and he questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
“When the president of the United States says, ‘This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ it’s because him and his constituents, which, I don’t know how there are any if you watch any of his attempts at public speaking, but I guess he got 81 million votes,” he told ESPN.
And that’s the sad part, really. Rodgers, previously seen as a sober thinker despite some occasional aloofness, has reduced himself to a real-life internet troll. He’s found an odd joy in being a contrarian, and seemingly even more joy in playing the victim when his lies and misstatements have been called out. He’s suffered a moral defeat this year, and he’s hemorrhaged much of the respect many people have had for him.
In my view, that’s more humiliating than whimpering off the field after throwing zero touchdowns in a playoff duel against the 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo.
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