Aaron Rodgers jumped back in the spotlight very quickly after last night’s viral Instagram post. The lengthy post was his first since the day of the NFL Honors ceremony in which he took home his second consecutive MVP award. What makes it intriguing, is that it has the tone of a person saying goodbye — almost like a different quarterback who also wears No. 12 that announced his retirement on Instagram, and now we’re not 100 percent sure about his future.
In the post that begins #MondayNightGratitude, he uses four paragraphs and 10 pictures to say thank you to those that made his year special. The final picture is from the Green Bay Packers’ Week 9 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, in which Rodgers did not play, and there is an empty space between wide receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, which is where he would normally stand during the national anthem. Could this be a foreshadowing?
Then today was the return of The Pat McAfee Show, and the first Aaron Rodgers Tuesday episode since the one following the Packers’ Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Rodgers appears sporadically on the show during the offseason. Did Rodgers use the appearance to clarify the post — sure.
In fairness to Rodgers, he did say in his first few minutes speaking that he would not be making an announcement today on his playing future. He has not made a decision, but he did make a point to say that he has spent the last 12 days doing a panchakarma, and then encouraged everyone to Google what that is. Because of course, Rodgers would use the moment when the most people would be watching the broadcast to brag about doing an ancient Ayurvedic body cleanse.
Some have said Rodgers’ post is cryptic, kind of like last offseason when he and Davante Adams both posted on their IG stories a picture of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in their last dance season.
“Unless you’ve gone through certain experiences, and had frustration and been near the bottom and get near the top and understand the beauty in life, then you might say [that’s] a cryptic message,” Rodgers said on the show. “There’s nothing cryptic about gratitude. I just came out of a 12-day cleanse.”
He then went on to describe exactly what he’s been doing physically and spiritually in the 12-day cleanse that led him to the immense feeling of gratitude that he felt the need to share with the world. Rodgers also later said he posted that picture where he’s not standing between Adams and Cobb, because it meant a lot to him that they held his spot in line even though he wasn’t there.
Who’s to say that he’s being insincere? Regardless of how much of the stress of the 2021 season he brought upon himself by being openly unhappy with the Packers prior to the start of the season, side stepping vaccine questions and then presenting to the rest of us his research that was debunked, surely it wasn’t fun having to be in eye of that storm all year. Rodgers even said on today’s McAfee episode that he felt remorse for all of the people who had to deal with the “shrapnel” that came from his decisions and statements.
Still, there’s no reason for him to act like there’s something wrong with people reading into something that he might post on social media. He is a celebrity, so everything that he posts is automatically conspicuous. Add on that free agency begins in a couple of weeks, and yes Rodgers feeling the need to post a list of thank yous and pictures is going to make people wonder what his impetus was for doing so.
We shouldn’t dismiss his explanation, but he also should not dismiss our initial questions, or any questions that we still have. As much as he would like to make statements without widespread criticism, or inquiry, that’s not the way that the world works. Scientists, politicians, historians, journalists, entertainers, anyone who says or writes something that is widely consumed is open for critique not only that they welcome, but also that feel is unwarranted or unnecessary. However, those are the brakes, and Rodgers is no different.
He earned those two consecutive MVPs, and he has also earned a dissection of everything that he says.