Aaron Rodgers Says The Article Detailing His Rocky Relationship With Mike McCarthy Was a "Smear Attack", Which Begs One Unanswered Question...
SI- Quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke out against a recent article from Bleacher Report, calling it a "smear attack" and said there were a number of "highly questionable" things included in the story that delved into the relationship between Rodgers and former head coach Mike McCarthy.
In a new interview with Jason Wilde and Mark Tauscher ESPN Milwaukee, Rodgers said he's heard from over 100 current and former players and coaches since the story was published last week.
"I want to say two things: One, if they knew that, why would they offer me a contract last year?" Rodgers said in the interview. "And two, which goes into my second central thesis point that I'm going to take down, is if I really disliked Mike so much, why would I re-sign knowing that if I play well and we do what we do around here — we made the playoffs eight straight years and then I got hurt and we missed the playoffs — it's going to be me and Mike my entire career? So if I really disliked him that much, do you think I'd re-sign? Is the money that important to me? I'll tell you it's not. Quality of life is important."
Rodgers acknowledged the he and McCarthy might have issues but the two always dealt with it face to face and it didn't get in the way. Rodgers said: "I love Mike McCarthy. He's a great man. He's got a huge heart. He really cares about his players, and he showed that to us. ... As far as a player to a coach, it's just two Alpha males who are hyper-competitive and love winning and are both a little stubborn. But, again, we talked through so many different issues over the years and that made us a lot stronger."
The story cites Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley heavily, with the two sharing stories, including one from Jennings where he discussed knowing it was his last year in Green Bay after Rodgers joked about the wide receiver joining the 49ers.
After Wilde brought up the two, Rodgers said: "If it’s not an article about me, do you ever hear their names anywhere else? … You talk about me being sensitive and petty, at what point do you move on or stop telling the same stories?"
I say the following as someone who doesn't find Aaron Rodgers to be a particularly likable or forthright person, regardless of how great he is as a player. I think it's totally to refer to Bleacher Report's offseason piece that went out of its way to do research and report on the enigmatic reputation of one of the NFL's most transcendent talents as a "smear attack". While reading up on the inner non-workings of the Green Bay Packers' organization was incredibly interesting, enlightening, and explanatory, the extensive article did come off as a pretty complete takedown of Aaron Rodgers personally and Mike McCarthy professionally. Therefore, I can totally understand them both feeling attacked by the criticisms of former peers who may have exaggerated their truths in picking sides in what sounds like an extremely polarizing organizational feud.
That being said, I am left asking myself one question that Aaron Rodgers only lightly touched in a suspiciously dismissive way. That question, of course, is why? I know why people would take aim at Mike McCarthy, as having your resume as an offensive head coach reduced to used toilet paper almost always comes as a result of being fired for repetitively underperforming with an All-World talent under center. But why would multiple players that used to benefit from catching deadly accurate passes from said All-World talent attempt to sully his name unless his name deserved a sullying?
Simply put, Aaron Rodgers is going to have do a bit better then claiming it's all made up for publicity, since you don't find too many players whose careers were elevated by playing with high-quality quarterbacks who are quick to sell them down the river for a headline. Leaders the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees have made not a single eternal enemy in their rotating arsenals of weapons despite being just as demanding of them, so - historically speaking - I have no choice but to believe there is something to Aaron Rodgers being a bit of a passive aggressive prick.
Now, there are worse things to be in this world than a self-indulgent dickhead, especially when you possess an unprecedented amount of arm talent. However, for him to disingenuously plead innocence on all counts is him asking for the suspension of a laughable amount of disbelief. Seeing as his career has been largely wasted while working alongside an uncreative head coach, I don't particularly blame him for being an asshole. I do, however, blame him for not being self-aware enough to at least own it.