Aaron Rodgers Trade Saga

I almost started this story “Once upon a time…” But that’s how the old media would start it. Instead, I’ll start it like this - Pat McAfee is a loudmouth.

He really is. And he won’t shut up. He says whatever he wants with a horde of goons chanting beside him. And he’s definitely not going to read whatever you put on a teleprompter. He says he’s “not a good reader” anyway. McAfee is a total bro and unapologetically so. And guess what? People LOVE it.


We’re never going to go away from the murky underside of sports takes. The paparazzi hiding in a bush to snap your photo. “Reporters” digging around in trash cans for scraps. Twitter journalists convincing hospital employees to violate the Hippocratic oath. Anything to be first. And we’re never going to get rid of the old-school press conference either. Though it’s at least amusing to watch beat writers try to squeeze water out of stone when Bill Belichick is up there. Plus, with that one, players can always say they’re “just here so I don’t get fined.”

But what a lot of us are finally realizing is that Mr. McAfee is quietly turning the old media game on its head. ALL of our news used to come from beat writers. Collected through the “proper channels” and printed in the newspaper. The league and the teams could control all of the narratives. Don’t like it? Report something else and see how many of your questions get answered next time. See what kind of access you get. Which leaks come your way. You had to play the game. But players are picking up on Pat McAfee’s game of “say whatever you want”. And these days he’s helping them do it. 

The recent Aaron Rodgers news isn’t the first example - it’s not even the first example featuring Aaron Rodgers. But it’s a shining example. The Jets and Packers were playing chicken in front of the sports world. “We’re waiting for Aaron”, they both cried. Well, guess what? Aaron went on the Pat McAfee show this past Wednesday and told the world himself that that’s actually not true. According to Rodgers, it hadn’t been true since last Friday. He’s been in communication with both teams and he’s already expressed his intention to play football for the New York Jets. And he made it pretty clear that the teams were not only responsible for the holdup but for the disrespect he’s felt since emerging from the darkness. With one swift stroke, he overhand smashed that media serve back toward the NFL. 

Do we believe everything Aaron Rodgers says? Of course not. But players now have a true avenue to say how THEY feel. To report THEIR side of the story. And not just via their agent or a Tweet. They can say it in their own words. LIVE. To nearly half a million viewers. And not on a four-letter network or cable news - for free, on YouTube. Or maybe in The Players’ Tribune, like Calvin Ridley recently did. If you’re an athlete and your agent gets mad when you report information yourself instead of delivering it to ESPN or NFL.com or whoever, maybe it’s time to start asking why that is. Is there maybe money involved? If so, who’s getting this money? Maybe there isn’t and people just really, really like telling stuff to guys like Adam Schefter (we know Aaron Rodgers doesn’t). If it were me, I’d share the info however I saw fit. It’s my contract - it’s my news. Maybe it’s time more players take control of THEIR news. I’m sure Pat McAfee and the New Media wouldn’t mind helping with that. And we can leave the old media and their shady ways behind.