Aaron Rodgers Appears on SportsCenter: “It is about the people”

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

As we all anxiously waited to hear what Aaron Rodgers had to say about his rift with the Green Bay Packers as he made his first public appearance since this news of his discontent broke, we learned exactly what we should have expected: not much.

Rodgers appeared on SportsCenter as part of Kenny Mayne’s final show as the host, and it could have went one of two ways. Rodgers could have put all of this to rest by saying that he would be back, or he could have said that he wanted out, similarly to what Julio Jones did on ‘Undisputed’ Monday morning.

But neither happened. Rodgers didn’t tell us that he was staying in Green Bay, he didn’t demand a trade, or that Brian Gutekunst be fired either. Rather, he told us what we already knew, and that is that his issues lie with management and the organizational philosophy.

‘The Packer Way’ was established when Ron Wolf was the GM of the Green Bay Packers back in the 1990s, and even with different General Managers at the helm, for the most part, the organization has stuck to those principles–even as the times have changed. Essentially, GMs manage, coaches coach, and players play, with everyone staying in their lanes and putting the organization first.

This approach can appear callus at times, such as the team choosing to not even reach out to Micah Hyde when he was a free agent or drafting the heir apparent at the quarterback position but failing to give your current Hall of Fame quarterback a simple heads up. There are countless other examples, and I’m sure many more that the public is unaware of, but this philosophy and approach appears to be at the core of Rodgers’ frustrations–that it should be about the people.

"“I think sometimes people forget what really makes an organization,” Rodgers said Monday, via ESPN. “History is important, legacy of so many people who’ve come before you. But the people, that’s the most important thing. People make an organization, people make a business and sometimes that gets forgotten. Culture is built brick by brick, the foundation of it by the people, not by the organization, not by the building, not by the corporation. It’s built by the people.“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a number of amazing, amazing people and got to work for some amazing people as well. It’s those people that build the foundation of those entities. I think sometimes we forget that.”"

As Rodgers put it, a lot of this was “put in motion last year” with the Jordan Love selection, but he was also adamant that this has nothing to do with Love, the person. Instead, it again goes back to how Green Bay handled the situation. And if there is anyone who is going to understand what Love is going through and have empathy, it’s going to be Aaron Rodgers, who went through a similar situation with Brett Favre.

"“Look, it’s never been about picking Jordan,” Rodgers said via Sports Illustrated. “I love Jordan; he’s a great kid. [We’ve had] a lot of fun to work together. I love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years. It’s just about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.”"

With the selection of Love, it became quite clear that the Green Bay Packers’ timeline for Rodgers and his own timeline didn’t align anymore. But by winning his third MVP award this past season, Rodgers was able to regain some of that control  that he had lost a year ago and is now using that to his advantage.

Throughout this entire saga, the Packers have been crystal clear that they want Rodgers back and are unwilling to trade him. However, if that is going to take place, it is going to occur after June 1st, when Green Bay can save $22.850 million in cap space in the process, according to Over the Cap. When Rodgers was asked about demanding a trade, he basically balked at the question and navigated his way around it.

Rodgers would also confirm that he hasn’t attended any part of voluntary OTAs, forgoing a $500,000 workout bonus. On June 8th through the 10th, mini-camp begins, and if Rodgers misses all three of those practices, he will be fined a total of $93,085. But once training camp arrives, that’s when the fines really start to be felt as that comes with a “mandatory fine” of $50,000 for every practice missed, according to ESPN.

While we were all hoping to glean something from this interview that gave us some insight into what the future holds, there really isn’t too much to take away. My gut still says that the two sides work out an extension that will infuse his current contract with some additional years and new money that makes it nearly impossible for Green Bay to move on from him in the coming years—thus providing him with the commitment and control over his own timeline that he is looking for.

But ultimately, we will have to wait and see. As Rodgers said (via Packers Wire), “anything is on the table at this point.”