The most useful aspect of Jordan Rodgers’s appearance on The Bachelorette was the revelation that he apparently has no relationship with his brother, NFL star Aaron. Now, a new story published on Bleacher Report adds new details to the Packers quarterback’s supposedly strained relationship with his family.
The article itself is, as the headline asks, about whether Rodgers “can be the type of leader the Packers need,” whatever that means exactly. Writer Tyler Dunne, who covered the Packers as a beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, portrays Rodgers as an unknowable and perhaps off-putting personality who seems to covet relationships with some players while ignoring others entirely. For example:
This is a teammate so loyal, he texted “Happy Birthday” to a former third-string tight end who caught nine passes in Green Bay. Said D.J. Williams, “He cares about guys on his team.”
This is also a teammate who never gave his cellphone number to Jermichael Finley, the starting tight end, through six seasons together.
This characterization of Rodgers cuts sharply against the genial, comedic pitchman he plays on television, one who is seen in a ubiquitous insurance commercial giving a rousing pre-game speech and hanging out with Clay Matthews in his free time.
But Dunne expands his scope beyond the locker room and to Rodgers’s family life. Rodgers’s relationship, or lack thereof, with his brother was tabloid fodder over the summer, but Dunne’s sources say the rift between Rodgers and his family runs much deeper:
One source, who was close to Rodgers for years but is among the many who have since been cut off by Rodgers entirely, said the quarterback has not spoken to his family since December 2014. Don’t feel too bad, J-Mike. Immediate family members don’t even have his cellphone number. When Mom and Dad sent Christmas presents to the quarterback and his girlfriend that year, the source said, those gifts were mailed back in February. He was set to be the groomsman in the wedding of one of his closest friends, the source said, and texted the day before he couldn’t attend.
He didn’t attend his grandfather’s funeral—the same grandfather he once called before every game.
He fired a business manager he’s known since high school.
The family was told they were no longer welcome in Green Bay. If Dad wants to attend a game now, he buys tickets on StubHub or goes through another player’s family.
Dunne then allows the disgruntled source of that info to allege that Rodgers has struggled on the field because of the state of his life off of it:
“There’s no explanation for him playing any worse,” said the source, who wished to speak under the condition of anonymity. “People are trying to figure it out. He’s a f—king head case. He knows he’s doing the wrong thing, and he’s so arrogant and prideful that he thinks he can separate his personal life from his professional life, even though all of us know that’s impossible. You can’t do that. You can do that in little spurts, like when Brett Favre went out and played amazingly when he loses his Dad. But when you’re talking about real situations that aren’t all of a sudden circumstantial and you f—k over good people, people you’re supposed to love, it’s a s—tty thing to do and you’re going to get humbled.
The story is juicy but this part feels specious. If Dunne knows the source of animosity between Rodgers and his family, he doesn’t share that with his readers (the tabloids point to Rodgers’s girlfriend Olivia Munn). But it’s not uncommon for rich, famous athletes to cut off their family members, including their parents, and still be exceptionally productive players. The stuff about Rodgers having close relationships with some players and none with others may be more germane, but we also don’t know how common—or uncommon—that is in NFL locker rooms.
Rodgers’s head could certainly be out of the game. Or the franchise may be in crisis simply because a roster that was once the envy of the league is now in disrepair, and the coach charged with making up the difference is ill-equipped to do much more than ride it out one way or another.
Nonetheless, Aaron Rodgers’s life sounds, uh, interesting.