Aaron Rodgers doesn’t owe the fans a damn thing

Green Bay mismanagement has gotten Packers here, after all

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Aaron Rodgers doesn’t owe the Packers a damn thing.
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t owe the Packers a damn thing.
Image: Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers’ front office continues to squirm. As Aaron Rodgers doesn’t show up for mandatory OTA’s the Packers are getting dangerously close to having to live off the merits of their own decision-making in the form of Jordan Love starting Week 1.

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Their strategies for trying to get Rodgers to come back have ranged from pleading to begging to now guilting him by telling him he’s hurting peoples’ feelings. In his monthly column on the Packers’ website, Mark Murphy, the President of the Green Bay Packers, responded to alleged fan emails.

“The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base,” wrote Murphy.

You know you have a lot to offer when you resort to the “We should stay together for the kids” argument.

I realize that there most likely is no real divide in the fan base and this is just a cowardly attempt to shame Rodgers into playing. I mean, just look at the email that Murphy was responding to.

“A question from Ken

Dear Mark: You have done a great job. Don’t let the bastards drag you down. Washington needs a name. I suggest the Generals.”

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Whatever you say “Ken.”

Dear Mark: You’re the coolest and smartest and most handsome guy ever. Can you be my dad?

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The whole thing feels contrived, but if there really are two camps of Packers fans, one that is Team Rodgers and one that is Team Front Office, why on earth would anyone be on the latter? Rodgers’ grievances with the team are nothing but legitimate. The team notably has not drafted a wide receiver in the first round since he’s been with the team. In the 2019 Draft, after losing to the Niners in the NFC Championship Game and needing help to get over the hump, the Packers drafted the guy they hoped to be his replacement - a quarterback who was graded much lower than Rodgers was when he came into the league in 2005. Rodgers then won the MVP and the Packers lost in the NFC Championship Game again, this time to the Bucs and Tom Brady.

Rodgers isn’t just mad that they made that one decision to draft a quarterback, he’s mad at how the team is run as a whole.

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The thing that makes Murphy’s attempt to use the fanbase as a bargaining chip in their negotiation so weak is that Rodgers shouldn’t care what the fans think. Why would he? Rodgers gave them 15 years and a Lombardi Trophy, which is WAY more than most fanbases get. He owes them nothing. Never did. If he retires tomorrow, Packers fans should say nothing but “thank you.” And if he goes to Denver and wins a Superbowl then they should say the same.

Any Packers fan who is madder at Rodgers than the dysfunctional organization that has seemingly been working against him is just being silly, though this would be nothing new. There is plenty of precedent for fanbases getting mad at star athletes for having the audacity to do what’s best for themselves.

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Think of Lebron James leaving Cleveland. Fans were burning jerseys and there was a sense of “You can’t do this to us. We made you.” Because no one would’ve taken a chance on Lebron if the Cavs had taken someone else first overall.

Athletes get one life and one career and should be able to do whatever they feel is best for themselves. Sports fandom is, at the end of the day, just for fun. Imaginary even. It’s only as important as you want it to be. The money that athletes make and the companies (because that’s what teams are) that they choose to work for are a little more real, and so I would argue a little more important.

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Murphy also wrote in his statement, “We are working to resolve the situation and realize that the less both sides say publicly, the better.” A little late for that. And, yeah, no shit.