As we took our place at the Epicenter of Humanity last Sunday, I acknowledged that I love the drama of the NFL regular season, both on and off the field. When the playoffs begin, however, I like to think it should be all about the games.
That's one of the reasons I haven't weighed in on the reaction to a story from Green Bay television station WBAY that included video of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walking past a cancer survivor seeking an autograph at Austin Straubel airport in Green Bay. We discussed it via Twitter on Sunday, but none of us knew the full context of the video and it certainly didn't seem more pertinent than our weekend of NFC North domination.
But after reading through the mailbag, tracking back through Twitter and hearing from Rodgers himself, it seems appropriate to address this episode if only for the purposes of dispatching it on this blog.
Rodgers appeared Tuesday on the Dan Patrick radio show and said he has signed for the fan, Jan Cavanaugh, before but didn't see her in this particular instance. And in a follow-up story from WBAY, Cavanaugh gave no indication that she felt slighted and said: "I am very unhappy with people making so much out of this, because this really isn't that big of a deal. It's up to the players to decide who they want to give an autograph to, and that's their prerogative."
Here's the full text of what Rodgers said about it, courtesy sportsradiointerviews.com:
"Well, Jen is a great fan and we have an incredible fan base that travels well and would like to thank all the fans that showed up in Atlanta. We had a ton of fans at the airport and a ton of fans that came back. I've met Jen on previous occasions, I've signed for her, and as the video shows on this trip I didn't see her and I didn't sign for her. This kinda has turned into something I didn't really expect but I think the people of Green Bay know how I feel about them and how much I appreciate their support. This turned into something I didn't really expect."
Rodgers doesn't need me to defend him in this instance. Readers of this blog know about at least one of his charitable endeavors. And those who drew early conclusions don't need to be bashed. It's all good. Let's just move on. IT'S NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WEEK. One of our teams is going to the Super Bowl! And we're talking about autographs?! Onward and upward.