Aaron Rodgers will almost certainly win most valuable player honors in the NFL again this season. He will win, but should he?
That question was raised by one the 50 sports writers who will vote on that decision at season’s end. Hub Arkush called Rodgers “the biggest jerk in the league” and vowed not to vote for him because of his lying about being vaccinated and then going on to spread misinformation about same.
I’m not so sure about Biggest Jerk in the League (BJL) recognition. For the 2021 season it seems to me that one goes to Jon Gruden, hands down. But Arkush has a point about conferring MVP honors on a guy who has done as much damage as Rodgers has on a major public health issue.
Look, you can’t have it both ways. Rodgers clearly loves his celebrity status. Fine, but with that then comes some responsibility to the public. Like it or not, he’s an influential public figure, a posture he embraces. So, when he blathers on about all kinds of nonsensical “immunization” therapies as opposed to, oh I don’t know, vaccines that are overwhelmingly safe and effective, that carries some weight with some people. Don’t you think that if Rodgers had done the opposite — gotten vaxed early on in front of the cameras and cut some PSA’s urging people to get poked — he would have been responsible for tens of thousands of Wisconsinites deciding to follow his lead? Don’t you think that would have saved a few lives?
Wisconsin’s vaccination rate for fully vaccinated adults is 62%, just below the national average but a good deal lower than Minnesota (Vikings fans) and Illinois (Bears fans) and in Rodgers’ home state of California. He could have used his popularity to help the cause of public health and safety, but he did just the opposite. That’s no small matter.
At his weekly presser the other day, Rodgers said he doesn’t care about Arkush. “He’s a bum and I’m not going to spend any of my time worrying about that stuff,” Rodgers said before spending many more minutes going on about Arkush.
But here’s Arkush’s reasoning as expressed on a radio show last week: “Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument, but I don’t think he is clearly that much more valuable than (Indianapolis running back) Jonathan Taylor or (Los Angeles Rams receiver) Cooper Kupp or maybe even Tom Brady. So from where I sit, the rest of it is why he’s not going to be my choice.”
When you’ve got at least three players who have earned MVP honors and one has disgraced himself off the field, why not just pick one of the others?
That’s a tough question to answer.
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