Leave Aaron Rodgers Alone

Photo Credit: Mike Morebeck/CC BY 2.0

Aaron Rodgers is my nemesis.

OK, that’s an exaggeration. Aaron Rodgers is not my nemesis. He’s simply an amazingly talented QB who (tragically) happens to play for the Chicago Bears’ bitterest rival, the Green Bay Packers.

Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to a thrilling upset against the #1 ranked Dallas Cowboys yesterday, and he was phenomenal. He has been since Week 10, when the Packers, at 4-6, were on the verge of not making the playoffs, and hot takes that Rodgers was overrated, and past his prime were aplenty.

At the time, Rodgers told fans that Green Bay would be fine. They’d run the table, win out, and make the playoffs once again. Sadly, and like usual, the talented, intelligent bastard was right.

As a Bears fan, Aaron Rodgers’ greatness is simply infuriating. He’s broken my heart a thousand times. I can never root for him to win, though he almost always does.

But even though I can’t root for the guy when he’s playing, I can absolutely call out the media’s bullshit when they pry into his family life for no good reason.

Rodgers was in the news yesterday for more than just Green Bay’s win. After months of speculation surrounding his relationship with his family, Ed Rodgers, Aaron’s father, confirmed that the family hadn’t spoken to Aaron since 2014. Articles detailing the estrangement popped up on Deadspin and The New York Times. When asked about it, Aaron Rodgers replied simply, “I just don’t think it’s appropriate talking about family stuff publicly.”

If only the media would respect that….

This family drama Rodgers is dealing with? It isn’t news. It is gossip. Worse, it’s not even innocuous gossip like who is dating who, or where someone is vacationing in the offseason.

Has it occurred to anyone that maybe Aaron Rodgers has a deeply painful, deeply valid reason for cutting off contact with his family? Maybe it’s what’s best for his mental health. Maybe both parties are at fault, and in time they’ll work it out. Or maybe Rodgers (as several outlets seem to be hinting) is just an arrogant asshole who decided he was too good to talk to his family, anymore.

It doesn’t matter the cause of the estrangement, because unless a law was broken, the reasons for why this family, like many families, are not on good terms is none of the public’s business.

We’re such weird creatures when it comes to celebrities, and what we believe people in the public eye owe us. If they show pictures of their children on Instagram, we feel entitled to harass them for their parenting choices. If they once shared a cute anecdote about their spouse in an interview, we insist on being privy to every detail of their messy divorce. If they pose for photographs in magazines or at awards shows, then we argue they have no room to complain about being hounded by paparazzi when out at the grocery store, or taking their kids to school. And if they complain about any of this, we ridicule them for choosing a life in the public eye. They asked for it, is basically our response, and because they lead such privileged lives they forgo their right to privacy in return.

But Aaron Rodgers, just like every other celebrity, doesn’t owe us anything when it comes to his personal life. If he wants to talk about it, that’s his perogative, but if he doesn’t the media should let it go. Possibly now more than ever we need to evaluate what the idea of celebrity actually means to us, and if we’re bringing attention to issues that are actually important, or merely feasting on the bones of another person’s hidden skeletons.

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