At this point it’s like clockwork. Aaron Rodgers goes on The Pat McAfee Show and makes some joke or offhand comment about Big Pharma. Then fans and analysts online push back with a reminder that Woody Johnson, the billionaire owner of Rodgers’ New York Jets, is the heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune.
While breaking down New York’s narrow loss to Kansas City on Sunday night, Rodgers cheekily referred to star tight end Travis Kelce as “Mr. Pfizer,” an allusion to Kelce’s appearance in the COVID-19 vaccine developer’s commercials.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 3, 2023
In chorus, the show’s crew responded to Rodgers’ predictable joke as if comedian Shane Gillis was appearing on the program for the second time in a week.
And just as quickly, NFL reporters and fans online threw Rodgers’ connection to Johnson back in his face. They pointed out that he not only plays for an heir to the massive pharmaceutical company but hand-selected the destination and took a pay cut to play for the team.
Aaron Rodgers taking a shot at Travis Kelce for doing Pfizer commercials when his checks are literally signed by THE HEIR TO THE JOHNSON & JOHNSON PHARMACEUTICAL FORTUNE is a bit rich even for me.
— nick wright (@getnickwright) October 3, 2023
Real zinger from the guy who just took a $33.7M pay cut to help out the heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune https://t.co/RNilPJpp8n
— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) October 3, 2023
Others pointed out that there’s a difference between Rodgers playing for a team connected to a company and Kelce going out of his way to get an advertising bag from one.
That distinction might hold water if Rodgers ever addressed the Jets side of the equation. For both Kelce and Rodgers, it’s clearly about personal priorities and money.
Rodgers wants to play for a winning team and make a lot of money playing quarterback. Kelce wants to grow his profile and use his brand to make money off the field.
But even now, so many years after he first made his beliefs about the vaccine and Big Pharma known, Rodgers can’t help but use his weekly PMS guest spot to drive the point home. No matter how big a stretch it is.