At times like these, the world of sports can seem inconsequential, providing little more than the circus portion of the “bread and circuses” craved by any late-stage empire.
With that said, though, we need to talk about Aaron Rodgers. The four-time NFL MVP might just be the best football player on the planet. He’s also one weird dude.
Rodgers briefly became a beacon of freedom and individualism amidst a lockstep league last November when he revealed his vaccination status (unjabbed) and then decried the woke mob that subsequently descended upon him with cancellation on their minds. Rodgers had described himself as “immunized” during a 2021 training camp interview. This was technically accurate, given that he had contracted COVID and had a degree of natural immunity. But the mob, sensing an opportunity for a prominent scalp, seized on that assertion as evidence that Rodgers had lied about his vaccination status and pushed for his banishment from polite society.
In an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers eloquently responded by stating his case, cleverly appropriating the left’s “my body, my choice” mantra. “I’m not some sort of anti-vax, flat-earther,” Rodgers said. “I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some sort of woke culture or crazed individuals who say you have to do something.”
The Left promptly pounced and seized – something they’re always accusing the Right of doing.
An early-November article in The Guardian ran the headline: “Anti-vaxxer Aaron Rodgers’ spectacular fall from grace happened in record time.” That article closed with this triumphant assertion: “Rodgers will never compete for the title of most-liked player in the league again and he has nobody but himself to blame. Not all defeats in the NFL happen on the field.”
Three months later, Rodgers was hoisting his second straight NFL MVP award and fourth overall, even as the vaccine’s reputation for efficacy was imploding like a condemned Vegas casino. Some fall from grace.
Many on our side, so desperate for like-minded souls, adopted the Packers quarterback as one of us after seeing Rodgers’ brave stance as an oasis of sanity in a common-sense desert. And the passage of time proving the poor performance of the vaccine — embodied by our vaxxed, boosted and COVID-ridden commander in chief — have largely vindicated Rodgers’ stance.
But Rodgers is anything but a conservative standard-bearer. On the contrary — the guy is currently letting his freak flag fly. And as usual, conservatives’ knee-jerk embrace of a controversial figure on the basis of some minuscule slice of common ground has backfired.
Rodgers’ personal life, always a source of intrigue due to his estrangement from his family of origin, has taken a turn for the exotic and esoteric.
A serial dater of celebrities — such as Olivia Munn, Danica Patrick, and Shailene Woodley— Rodgers has, for the moment, eschewed the celebrity dating game in favor of a mystic woman named “Blu of Earth.” Blu is the founder of a “modern mystery school for women to reclaim the magical, radically authentic, wise, wild, unapologetic you.
He showed up to training camp looking like Nicolas Cage from “Con Air” and sporting a wildly elaborate left-arm tattoo that could be generously described as “mysterious” and less generously as “bizarre” or even “Satanic” — complete with Zodiac symbols and an all-seeing eye. To add a cherry to this eccentricity sundae, Rodgers recently opened up about his experiences with the psychoactive drug ayahuasca, citing it as an important component in his journey of healing and self-love. Alrighty then.
So what to make of Rodgers? Icon of freedom or self-absorbed weirdo?
First of all, there’s no denying that Rodgers is great at what he does. He makes throws that no other quarterback can make. While he may suffer in comparisons with Tom Brady due to a relative lack of postseason success, he has labored for his entire career in the NFL’s smallest market (by far) with a franchise that hasn’t exactly broken the bank to surround him with weapons. His excellence has allowed him to pile up the honors — he’s one MVP award shy of Peyton Manning’s record of five — while earning the undying respect of his peers and opponents.
And yes, he did take a stand for freedom at some degree of risk to his professional and personal reputation.
My suggestion: Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater when people like Rodgers are concerned. Embrace those points of agreement where they exist, but don’t fall into the Left’s trap of equating common ground with total endorsement.
Aaron Rodgers is a phenomenal football player and a supporter of personal freedom. That’s enough for me.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Daily Wire.