Ever since that fateful day in March when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Aaron Rodgers did not want to play with the Packers anymore, his future in Green Bay has been uncertain. For the rest of the offseason, all eyes focused on Green Bay and whether or not Rodgers would return. OTA’s came and went without Rodgers. Mandatory mini camp came and went, and still Rodgers was absent. Finally, camp began and the reigning MVP was present. In a recent interview with Sirius XM, Rodgers revealed that he came to the decision two days before camp began.
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) August 11, 2021
At Peace With the Decision
During his interview, Rodgers stated that he was at peace with coming back to Green Bay. If he was not 100% committed to the team and coaches, he would not be present. As far as Rodgers is concerned, he is preparing to win a Super Bowl in 2021.
Aaron Rodgers on being "at peace" returning to #Packers.
"I didn't wanna cheat my teammates, the organization, myself, the fans, by not being able to be all in."
"I feel like I'm at peace coming back. Totally focused on the season. All in with the guys and excited about 2021." pic.twitter.com/HweYic9UaV
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) August 11, 2021
Also during the interview, though, Rodgers was asked if he would have been at peace with not coming back. In response, he stated that he would have. He cited having other interests outside of the game that would have been enough for him in life. However, after focusing on his mental health and really reflecting on his future, he decided that Green Bay was where he WANTED to be for at least one more season.
The Criticism of Rodgers Is Unfair
Throughout the offseason (and still now), Rodgers has received criticism for the way he has handled the situation. Many have stated that he has signed a contract, therefore he should play through it. Moreover, they say, no player is above the organization.
There is some truth to their criticism. Contracts are meant for both parties as a business agreement where they each provide the other with something. Additionally, the Packers’ organization is 102 years old and ripe with culture and history. However, there is validity to what Rodgers has been saying as well.
While no player is more important than a team, including Aaron Rodgers, every human being is important. No worker, whether they are a professional athlete, a teacher, a mail worker, etc. wants to be treated with respect. Clearly, that is something that the Packers’ organization has failed to do at times. This is nothing new. The stories of how players were lowballed or disrespected towards the end of their contracts have been around for years.
Should Fans Be More Understanding?
As fans, it is easy to see the large dollar amounts that professional athletes make and lose sympathy for them. However, if an average worker felt disrespected by the company that he or she worked for, he or she may begin looking for another job, or finding a way out of their contract. People like to say the NFL is business. It is. However, the players are workers, too, subject to the same feelings and rights as workers in other industries.
The difference, of course, is that football is entertainment. Fans have a connection to teams that is, at the core, unexplainable. Lives do not depend on the outcome of game, if a team wins a championship, or if such-and-such player is (or wants to be) on their favorite team. It is a game. It is fun to watch and it is supposed to be fun to play. Aaron Rodgers has every right to find his happiness, whether it is in Green Bay, in Hawaii, or wherever he chooses it to be.
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