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

When there’s a hero or villain it can make for a memorable story or movie. The protagonist vs. the antagonist. The good guy vs. 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."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers responded Tuesday to his MVP comment he made last week during his latest appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show."
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers responded Tuesday to his MVP comment he made last week during his latest appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show."

Aaron Rodgers offseason watch continues with more MVP talk

One of those "things" that has generated plenty of response as Aaron Rodgers Offseason Watch 2023 continues along in its opening act is around his comments in which he said last week he could win another MVP in the right situation.

Many commentators, including former All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, questioned why Rodgers would bring up winning another individual award when the Super Bowl should be the goal (for his part, Rodgers did mention in that interview last week that he would only return if he thought the Packers could win a championship because he’s not interested in a rebuild). Rodgers won his fourth MVP in 2021 before putting up some of his worst statistical marks of his career in 2022 as the Packers failed to make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons and just the fourth time with Rodgers as the main starter in 15 years.

"Everybody wants to win MVP," Rodgers said on Tuesday, adding he wasn’t bothered by Gronkowski’s comments. "Everybody that plays the game wants to be MVP. Yeah, you want to win a championship, 100%. You want to go down in history on a championship football team. But everybody wants to win MVP, too, any sport. You want to be recognized as the best of the best. Anyone who says they don't is lying or non-competitive. And either one of those I don't want to be a part of."

Rodgers says 'woke culture' gets offended too easily

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.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he hears people's opinions about him but he isn't concerned about them.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he hears people's opinions about him but he isn't concerned about them.

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

Beyond the field, Rodgers became a polarizing figure for his stance on COVID-19 in 2021. It started with his “immunized” comment and then intensified when he doubled down against vaccinations after he tested positive for COVID-19, promoted the debunked treatment of ivermectin and constantly blasted the NFL's health and safety protocols.

While it's been more than a year since those headlines, COVID-19 still appears to be top of mind for 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 the media is to blame. He then floated some theory — without evidence — of "the media" previously working with the makers of the COVID-19 vaccine to plan coverage against him.

"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."

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