PRESS EDITORIAL: Untrustworthy

During the TV broadcast of any given Green Bay Packers game, the ex-jock analyst du jour who fills the few minutes between commercials with expert blather is sure to tell viewers that receivers have to earn the trust of Aaron Rodgers before the great quarterback will favor them with passes that could make them stars.

Unlike the lesser mortals around him, Rodgers doesn’t need to earn anyone’s trust. On his golden throne of athletic glory, he is exempt from the bothersome responsibilities expected to guide the behavior of ordinary humans.  

That was proven last week when it was revealed that he lied about being vaccinated against Covid, perpetuated the lie by ignoring rules affecting unvaccinated players as though he were vaccinated, tested positive for Covid after possibly exposing people around him to the virus, damaged his team’s prospects for success and betrayed his teammates and legions of admirers among the people of Wisconsin.

Rodgers is apparently also exempt from remorse. Rather than apologize, he used an appearance on a talk radio show with a sycophantic host to attack the NFL for having the temerity to enforce such pandemic protocols as barring team members who test positive for Covid-19 from playing for at least 10 days. 

Then, as though he were not only the smartest person in the huddle but also a professor of immunology, he went on to instruct listeners on the deficiencies and dangers of Covid vaccines in a lecture that repeated some of the favorite myths and misconceptions that fuel the anti-vaccination movement on social media.

He even threw in a plug for taking ivermectin as a Covid preventive, a medicine used to treat horses suffering from worms in their digestive system that the FDA warns should not be taken by humans.

This from a celebrity who was being paid to represent Prevea Health, a large health care provider in northern and western Wisconsin. Prevea quickly severed ties with Rodgers in an announcement that included a statement that the company is committed to “helping all eligible populations to become vaccinated against Covid-19.”

Sports fans are forgiving to a point. They have to be, considering the fact of life that athletic stardom is not always paired with exemplary behavior. As disingenuous as Rodgers’ off-season performance was, threatening with various publicity-seeking statements to break his contract and abandon the Packers, many fans no doubt got over it as he led the team to victories that put it on course for a championship.

It was taken for granted that Rodgers, like so many sports stars who bask in the unconditional adulation of their fans, was arrogant and narcissistic. Now the adjective untrustworthy will have to be added.

Aside from the broader health concerns of Rodgers’ behavior, it is an indictment of his character that he has acted with contempt for his employer and the thousands of Wisconsin residents who are owners of the team that rewards him extravagantly for his work. He is paid just under $1 million per game whether he plays or not. Because of the rules for unvaccinated players, he was unable to perform his job on Sunday and his team lost a game it would likely have won easily with Rodgers at quarterback.

Unlike other high-payroll employers, the NFL does not require vaccination (even so, 93% of its players are vaccinated), but it enforces protocols for testing, mask wearing and distancing for unvaccinated players. Rodgers tried to evade those requirements by answering “Yeah” when asked by reporters if he was vaccinated. He added, “I’m immunized,” as though using a synonym for vaccination would mitigate his untruth.

If Rodgers tests negative by Saturday, he will be able to play in the game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. He will again expect his receivers to earn his trust. Will anyone ask Rodgers to re-earn the trust he squandered?

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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