I’m still in a post wedding state of unaccustomed happiness. The snark will probably return next week. In the mean time this story came across my radar a couple of days ago and at least got the deeply buried snark vibe going a bit.
In the past few years my involvement with the National Football League has grown dimmer and dimmer. Can’t tell you exactly when it started, maybe when routine quarterback sacks were turned into occasions for dance recitals. My high school coach always said not to celebrate anything on the field, it makes it look like it’s the first time you did it. At any rate my passion for the game has ebbed to the point of total disinterest.
But this is America, where the NFL owns a day of the week (and is trying to buy another one) so it is hard to totally discount the organization. Like it or not you, as a member of the American public, can not help but be aware of at least some of the league’s goings on. Television networks, either those who currently show the games or those currently trying to get the rights to show the games, will make sure of that.
And so we come to what is now being referred to as the “Aaron Rodgers situation”.
For those who don’t know, Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. You might better know him as an insurance pitchman or a wanna be Jeopardy host. Or you might know him as the guy who dumped Olivia Munn for Shailene Woodley, a move which, in my opinion, makes his judgement suspect.
Wednesday he tested positive for COVID. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his positive test brought the entire NFL under a viral microscope.
You see Rodgers earlier in the year had been asked by a reporter if he had been vaccinated. His reply was that he was “immunized”. The reporter, and thus the public he was feeding information to, took that to mean Rodgers had gotten the jab. Turns out he hadn’t gotten jabbed. Instead he claimed to have gotten an “alternative treatment”, a treatment he petitioned the league to accept as the same as vaccination. To their credit (and this is likely the only time I’ll use that phrase in the context of the NFL) the league said they would not.
Yet the league allowed Rodgers to act as if he were vaccinated. Vaccinated players don’t have to wear masks on the sidelines, can be within six feet of others, and generally act the way they would have acted pre-COVID. Unvaccinated players must be COVID tested nearly daily and basically follow all procedures that were in place before the vaccines became available. Rodgers has been seen prowling the sidelines sans mask and in close contact with other players and coaches. Again, reporters all did interviews up close and personal with him while admittedly unvaccinated players did their interviews from six feet away or even over Zoom. And why not, he had told them he was “immunized”.
All of this came crashing down after his post Halloween party (where he dressed as John Wick) COVID test showed him positive. Hope Shailene enjoyed her Keanu Reeves fantasy night.
So Rodgers will have to isolate for ten days, which means he won’t be available to play in Sunday night’s made for Sweeps Month game between the Packers and the Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City Chiefs. What was going to be a night filled with excitement, intrigue, and loads of State Farm Insurance ads (both quarterbacks pitch State Farm) is now just a boring mid season game between a disappointing team on the field and a disappointing team off the field.
The Packer organization is in large part to blame for this fiasco. Even though the league wouldn’t approve whatever alternative treatment Rodgers claimed to have had, the Packers apparently said yeah, sure, whatever, and let him loose in the huddle. They kept quiet about their star quarterback and allowed him to appear to be a vaccinated player. Until they couldn’t anymore. According to ESPN it’s going to cost them:
Ultimately, the Packers could face more culpability. The NFL issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon noting pointedly that “the primary responsibility” for enforcing COVID-19 protocols is with the team, not the league. It pledged to “review the matter” and noted that teams have been disciplined in the past for protocol violations. Among the teams fined were the New Orleans Saints ($500,000), Las Vegas Raiders ($500,000), Tennessee Titans ($350,000), New England Patriots ($350,000) and Baltimore Ravens ($250,000). The Saints were also stripped of a seventh-round draft pick, and the Raiders lost a sixth-rounder.
But there is another party with blame in the matter. That party is the press. When that reporter didn’t get a straight answer from Rodgers about his vaccine status his hackles should have been raised, his spidey-sense should have been tingling, and/or his BS detector should have been screaming loud in his brain. Who answers a direct yes or no question with an evasion term like “I’ve been immunized”? Obviously someone who has not been vaccinated but doesn’t want to piss off the 75% of potential State Farm Insurance buyers (i.e. the American public) who have.
So why didn’t that reporter press Rodgers on his answer? He didn’t want to. And the reason he didn’t want to was that he could have potentially lost his job if he had. Rodgers and the Packer organization could said this guy is a problem and shut him out of all future press conferences which in turn would have made his news organization either assign him a new beat to cover or out and out terminated him. And the news organization wouldn’t have wanted to risk pissing off the Packers by retaining him and run the risk of ALL their reporters being exiled from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
But it’s not fair really to blame this one reporter. The fact is this is the way news organizations are run in America today. While we don’t have government run propaganda outlets (other than Fox News when Repugnicants hold power) we do have censorship by economic forces. Just like that reporter failed to ask the natural follow up question to Rodgers, the White House press corps didn’t ask Trump the follow up question to…well…anything he ever said. Why? Because they and their organizations would have been shut out of the press room and being shut out of the press room means no access and no access means lower ratings and readership and that means less money is being made. And as much as they claim to be upholding the American tradition of a free press speaking truth to power, they are all in it for the buckeroos and nothing more. So they keep their mouths partially shut, only partially telling the public the truth, partially accepting the lies that come out of the mouths of politicians, movie stars, and yes NFL quarterbacks, all with the full knowledge that to really speak truth to power or even to an overpaid moronic athlete is to risk one’s livelihood. That is censorship in America today.
Hmm, looks like my snark has fully returned. Nice to have you back big fella.
And now a little something from Little Steven
Well it may not be in my best interest to be pointing my finger but I’m still pointing my finger right at you. Take control or keep following blind. I’m trying to get straight but I’m running out of time