Aaron Rodgers elaborates on his "distraction" double standard

Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants no distractions in 2024. That doesn't apply to the distractions that he creates.

By way of background, Rodgers made this declaration on January 8: “Anything that doesn’t have anything to do with winning needs to be assessed. So anything in this building that we’re doing individually or collectively that has nothing to do with real winning needs to be assessed. . . . It’s not a half the time thing, it’s not a sometimes thing, it’s not a most of the time thing, it’s an every time thing. If you want to be a winning organization, and to put yourself in position to win championships and be competitive, everything that you do matters, and the bullshit that has nothing to do with winning needs to get out of the building. So, that’ll be the focus moving forward.”

Earlier this week, Rodgers said this only applies during the season and in the building. Which, given the breadth of his words, doesn't make sense. By way of comparison, when the Patriots were winning championships, "do your job" and "no days off" did not apply only from the time training camp opened until the confetti fell at the Super Bowl.

Appearing on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio with Adam Schein on Thursday, Rodgers was asked to elaborate on his views regarding "distractions," given both his offseason exploits (podcast appearances and V.P. possibilities) and his in-season appearances with Pat McAfee.

As he usually does, Rodgers began by addressing those who would dare to criticize him.

"Listen, I think there's people that have their opinion about me, and that's fine," Rodgers said. "And they'll use whatever language justification they want to back up whatever narrative they're going to push about me, and that's fine. I don't spend any time worrying about those people's opinions or what they think about me."

His awareness of the content of the scrutiny would suggest otherwise, and that's fine. He's not the only one in pro sports to claim he ignores the "haters" while also remaining fully aware of everything they say.

The more outlandish stuff came from his effort to take what he said in January about distractions and turn it into something that doesn't apply to him.

"You know, the comments that I made were intentionally meant to be vague, because as opposed to some of the stuff that actually went on last year, I'm not a leak," Rodgers said. "I'm not somebody who is going to put a ton of our business out there. I just don't believe. I believe you should handle things in house. That's what I was referring to when being a distraction. I think there's a way of doing things. And maybe I was brainwashed a little bit being in Green Bay, but I feel like over those 18 years we did a pretty damn good job of keeping things in house, and I think there's something to that. There's something about being a winning organization and protecting the locker room and protecting the sanctity of private conversations."

So it's not about distractions, it's about leaks. So why didn't he just talk about leaks, not distractions? (It's not the first time Rodgers has publicly complained about the Jets and leaks. He did it with McAfee last year, decrying anonymous sources bashing Zach Wilson as the hallmark of a "chickenshit" operation.)

Rodgers then turned to the subject of the question he was asked — his own propensity to create distractions.

"When it comes to using the word distraction, listen, you know, I think anybody would jump at the opportunity to be on Joe Rogan," Rodgers said, speaking on behalf apparently of all of humanity. "He's the No. 1 podcaster and maybe the top media person in the world. More people listen to his show than anybody else. I respect what Tucker Carlson has done in his space and enjoyed doing that podcast as well. And the third one I did was my dear friend Morgan Hoffman, if you know Morgan, he's got an incredible story of healing. So I don't regret any of that stuff.

"The V.P. stuff, it got out there, and like I said it was an honor to be even considered worthy to have a conversation about it from Bobby, but people think those are distractions, that's fine. I'm still probably going to do McAfee, and I'm still probably going to piss some people off based on my vax stance or my ideas about this or that, and that's fine, but you know what you're going to get from me inside a locker room. I think in general . . . to just put a bow on this, the idea of distractions is a way bigger topic outside of the building than it is inside. I mean, nobody has talked to me about any of these things being distractions. My teammates love deep-diving on all different types of topics, some that they've seen me talk about on some of these podcasts. What they're stewing on. . . . There's great conversations in the locker room, and nobody is worried about any distractions. Nobody even said anything about the whole V.P. stuff during the entire thing. It wasn't even a topic of conversation. No worries, no nothing. The idea of it being a lot of distractions is one that is an outside the locker, outside of the facility conversation, not inside."

He's very good at saying whatever he needs to say to justify whatever he wants to do. Which definitely makes him qualified to make an eventual foray into politics.

As to the final portion of his response — that no one said from the Jets said anything during the V.P. stuff — Rodgers leaves out the fact that he was incommunicado during the entire ordeal. The Jets didn't hear from him. They didn't know what he was going to do. Only this week did we (and presumably the Jets) learn that Rodgers would have retired from football (i.e., quit on the Jets and left them holding the bag at quarterback) if he had decided to take up the cause of running for an office he had little or no chance of winning.

He still hasn't been pressed on how close he came to running, or whether he was even offered the spot. (Reporting at the time indicated that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s donors didn't want him.)

There are many things on which he needs to be pressed. However, he'll never go on a podcast that would entail aggressive questioning that challenges his views and his words. He prefers to stay in safe spaces that will let him talk and talk and talk without anyone ever saying, "Hang on, Aaron, let's talk a little more about that thing you just said."