All the time, we hear athletes and celebrities worry about being misquoted or having their words “taken out of context” in an interview. It’s a genuine fear justified by the (probably rare) occasion when a reporter does, in fact, quote a high-profile figure in a way that misrepresents what he or she intended to say.
Well Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has an ever-so-simple strategy for mitigating against this problem, which he explained Friday on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz: He records every one-on-one interview he participates in, just as the interviewer does.
“I think you have to be wary,” Rodgers said. “I think you have to approach every interview with a clear mind and think about what you want to say and what message you want to get out. I also think it’s important, if you’re worried about being taken out of context, that you just record your interviews. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while now, and I think it’s important to have that second recording so if someone’s trying to take something you said out of context you can go back and say, ‘Wait, wait. Hold on.'”
Rodgers acknowledged that recording all his interviews is unusual but said he once read Natalie Portman did it as well.
“It a way, if you’re in a one-on-one situation, where there’s no gray area. What you said is what you said, and there’s no way to take your words and move them around a little bit.”
Yes, this sounds a little paranoid, but it’s also an easy way to gain some peace of mind. Le Batard asked if Rodgers had someone with him all the time recording his conversations, to which the quarterback dryly replied, “No, I have this thing called an iPhone.” Later, when Le Batard referred to the “great lengths” Rodgers was taking to protect himself, the quarterback responded, “I wouldn’t say this is great lengths. This is me pushing a button on my phone.” It’s not like Rodgers is a madman. He’s just taking a small step to guard against ill-intentioned (or, more innocently, misunderstanding) reporters.
Though Rodgers’ desire to record all his interviews obviously indicates some distrust in the media, the practice can be beneficial for everyone. Rodgers gets to feel comfortable in his interviews, which might allow him to open up a little more and improve the reporter’s story. The reporter can’t really complain—after all, why should he alone get to possess a recording of the conversation? If everything is on tape, everyone is accountable.
The entire conversation between Rodgers and Le Batard is a pretty fascinating listen. The quarterback expressed understandable frustration that ESPN had turned an obvious answer about not accepting “mediocrity” into a talk-show topic, lamented that many interviews don’t feel like conversations and teased a feature by ESPN’s Mina Kimes that’s apparently due out soon. It’s always interesting to hear athletes’ views on the media, especially when they’re as intelligent and astute as Rodgers obviously is.