Last Sunday, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers scored a touchdown against the Bears. He spotted a fan in the stands giving him a pair of middle fingers, so he launched into his “I still own you!” rant.
Everyone loved it, with the exception of former Bears center Olin Kreutz, a two-time face-puncher who said he wanted to punch Rodgers in the face. Other than Kreutz, no one called Rodgers out for saying what he said.
Then, Rodgers made his Tuesday appearance on Pat McAfee’s show. Despite the absence of criticism of Rodgers for doing what he did, he launched into an attack on the criticism he received, invoking some of the various buzzwords that have become fixtures in political discourse.
Jimmy Traina of SI.com took a great look at the situation, and he included in his item the quotes from Rodgers.
“That is the state of our media and really our culture, not just media,” Rodgers said. “But our culture. This woke PC culture, and if I may elaborate just slightly, if you don’t mind. I think that in general my feelings are this. There’s a PC woke culture that exists, and there’s a cancel culture at the same time. And it’s based on people’s own feelings of personal miserability or just distaste for their own situations or life or just an enjoyment of holding other people down with their thumb, but when you engage in this culture and you’re immersed in it and you’re in it so much and for me, when I took time in the offseason to work on myself and work on my mental status, I was selfish or nonresponsive, and selfish and entitled. When I came back and said what I said at what I felt like was the right time and spoke the truth, the same sentiments were shared. Maybe not by as many people, because a lot of people respected what I said, but the same sentiments were shared.”
Sorry, but I don’t get it. Apart from the fact that no one (other than Kreutz) criticized Rodgers for doing what he did, no one has ever tried to get him canceled or whatever, even when he ignored the Packers from January to July and embraced the mystery that grew up around his absence without putting at ease the minds of the legion of Packers fans. He’s never had a “woke PC mob” after him. Not once. Not ever.
Rodgers, quite simply, doesn’t want to be criticized, by anyone. At any time. He’s no different than plenty of other star athletes and celebrities who covet fame on their terms.
As we’ve said before, it goes like this: Look at me! What in the hell are you looking at?
He’s not the first to act that way, and he won’t be the last. The fact that he took that much time to jam “woke PC mob” and “cancel culture” into a diatribe over the reaction to a moment that the vast majority of sports fans and media loved shows that he’s currently the undisputed king of that concept. And that’s a belt he’ll probably wear for a while.
Meanwhile, as to Kreutz’s reaction, that’s something that was inherent to the natural animosity of competitive athletics. The Packers don’t like the Bears, the Bears don’t like the Packers. Strong words get exchanged. It makes it fun.
Kreutz didn’t want to cancel Rodgers; he wanted to punch him. That’s a natural urge in situations like that. Plenty of Bears fans surely would have liked to punch Rodgers after that moment. That doesn’t mean they want to cancel him.
The truth, frankly, is that Rodgers is the one who’d like to cancel those who criticize him. He’d be far better off if he did what most in the public eye who get criticized do. They realize that it goes with the territory, and they do their best to ignore it.