Aaron Rodgers Credit: The Pat McAfee Show

Pat McAfee sat down with Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday afternoon in the ‘Get Up’ studio at ESPN’s Seaport building for a very serious interview.

It was the pair’s first in-person interview of the season with ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ in town and Rodgers just across the river in New Jersey. And they took on several hard-hitting topics from two armchairs not far from a framed Rodgers Jets jersey on the wall.

Responding to those who doubted the legitimacy of his Achilles tear in Week One, Rodgers spoke sardonically, even using his close-up camera shot to wear his best trolling grin.

“I respect everybody’s opinion about it, however misguided and wrong they are,” Rodgers smiled.

Then McAfee moved to Rodgers’ views of the COVID-19 pandemic and the saga over his vaccination status. During the 2021 NFL season, Rodgers refused to let on the truth of his vaccination status and was shredded by the media for it. Since then, he has become increasingly outspoken against common wisdom around public health and pharmacology in general.

Somehow, Rodgers responded to McAfee’s question about the saga by roping Stephen A. Smith into it all.

“He’s been taking care of himself too … shoutout to Stephen A.,” Rodgers said. “There’s something to that whole eating right, takin care of yourself, exercising … Stephen A. should maybe talk about that a little bit more.”

However, Rodgers found a silver lining in the drama.

“In an era of censorship and quelling free speech, I’m glad that I took the stand that I did,” Rodgers said. “And I’m welcoming more and more people to the side of freedom and free speech.”

It’s unclear whether Rodgers realized he was live on the biggest cable network in the United States when he said that.

Rodgers then took multiple hits at ESPN. He called it “weird” that ‘Get Up’ host Mike Greenberg had a framed jersey of his in the studio, frequently bashed ESPN for its reporting on him and the Jets, and tried pulling the conversation off the rails into conspiracy land multiple times.

Often, McAfee hosts Rodgers during the digital-exclusive hour of his show. In this case, Rodgers was on the main ESPN feed and took full advantage.

Beside the fact it could make ESPN look bad, filling time with a rich, famous athlete listing off his grievances is hardly entertaining. Once Rodgers joined the show’s crew at the desk, he settled into more natural NFL talk and came across as the smooth, entertaining guy who became America’s most famous quarterback earlier in his career.

But for a significant portion of the interview, Rodgers appeared to have a personal bone to pick with ESPN and aimed to make full use of his appearance on their downtown Manhattan campus to make a point.

[The Pat McAfee Show on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.