Aaron Rodgers has been beloved by New York since arriving to the Jets last month, but according to the brash quarterback, that’s not the priority.
The very idea of the polarizing quarterback landing in New York had people on the edge of their seats, waiting to see how he would handle the local media. And much to the surprise of many, Rodgers is getting along great with the New York media since becoming a Jet. Maybe it’s just a honeymoon phase, or maybe New York’s media isn’t as tough as it’s perceived to be by other parts of the country.
Rodgers has received standing ovations at Knicks and Rangers playoff games, he’s being cherished by Jets fans, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a negative headline written about him since arriving to New York. But that’s not his goal. During a recent interview with Adam Schien on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio, Rodgers admitted being liked isn’t his focus.
“People that have seen me on The McAfee Show can see what I am all about,” Rodgers told Schein. “There’s not a whole lot that’s held back and I shoot from the hip. Some people like it, some people don’t. Not everybody is into plant medicine, not everybody is into reading books, not everybody likes it that I say the occasional metaphor, but that’s fine.
“I care more about being respected, especially by my teammates, than liked. Every great leader, that needs to be the focus. If you are worried about being liked over being respected then you are never going to stand for anything and you are not going to get respected,” Rodgers continued. “More people will like you and appreciate you because we have those boundaries with the things you truly, truly believe in and willing to stand up for them.”
“What am I willing to stand up for? My personal freedoms and rights and my belief system. If you like it great and if you don’t, that’s fine too,” Rodgers added on Schein’s SiriusXM Radio show.
Rodgers might not care about being liked, but he definitely cares what people are reporting about him, which is why he aggressively attempts to slay every narrative that he considers to be “fake news.” And it’s that willingness to call out headlines which leads people to question whether he’ll ultimately get along with New York’s media through the ups and downs that occur in every NFL season. But as long as Rodgers keeps talking, (and winning) New York will be happy to have him.
Since joining The Pat McAfee Show as a weekly in-season guest three years ago, Rodgers has been made into a controversial figure. And while Rodgers can be polarizing for his willingness to speak about politics and darkness retreats, he is unabashedly an open book. The media should relish that, especially in a city starved for NFL star power.
[Schein on Sports, New York Post]