Packers QB Aaron Rodgers embracing the 'villain' role as he talks woke culture, COVID, the media and more

In a good movie or book, there's typically a hero or villain. The protagonist and the antagonist. The good guy and the bad guy. In sports, it's often the same way.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he knows where he fits in the script.

"There’s heroes and villains in sports and entertainment," Rodgers said Tuesday during his second offseason appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" from his Malibu home. "I think because of my stance on COVID and maybe some other things I’ve been cast as the villain, especially the last few years.

"So that is the way a lot of things that I say are often interpreted. I'm not upset about it. I don’t feel like the victim in any way. I don't have that mentality. That's fine. I actually embrace that role a little bit if that's how you want to cast me."

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Aaron Rodgers says 'woke culture' gets offended too easily

Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after throwing an incomplete pass against the New York Jets on Oct. 16, 2022.
Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after throwing an incomplete pass against the New York Jets on Oct. 16, 2022.

Nonetheless, Rodgers said he isn't concerned about people's perceptions of him.

"I don’t care about that stuff," Rodgers said. "That doesn't offend me. This culture, this woke culture wants to be offended by everything. ... Most of the time you gloss over it, because honestly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn't interrupt my whale watching one bit."

Rodgers joked he's been doing more whale watching during the early part of the offseason and is getting ready to participate in a Pro-Am PGA Tour golf event Feb. 2-5 in Pebble Beach, California.

Aaron Rodgers 'glad' he went through COVID saga during 2021 season

Beyond the field, Rodgers became a polarizing figure for his stance on COVID-19 in 2021 and then later doubling down against vaccinations, promoting the debunked treatment of ivermectin and constantly blasting the NFL's health and safety protocols.

While it's been more than a year since those headlines, COVID-19 is always on the mind of Rodgers even when the topic isn't brought up, as evidenced by his last two appearances on McAfee's show as the conversation mostly centered around his football future and potentially being traded.

Rodgers said his positions on COVID-19 have led to people's changing perceptions of him and then went on to —without evidence — connect "the media" to the makers of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"If you take the right sound bite from the right thing and it's a station that may or not in the past been brought to you by Pfizer, they got to make sure their villain gets cast in the correct light and whether or not they're sponsored by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, whatever it might be," Rodgers said.

Rodgers added he's painted in "a certain way" because he went up "against some of the powers that be" and that puts him in "their crosshairs."

"That's what the media did to me a couple years ago," Rodgers claimed. "That's fine. That's their prerogative, if that's what they want to do. I think I responded pretty good in those times. I'm glad I went through that. Anything that comes after that, small potatoes, really."

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Aaron Rodgers says on Pat McAfee Show he's embracing 'villain' status