Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed his first test with the New York media Wednesday afternoon, surviving his introductory press conference without any points of contention.
“I’m excited about working with all you guys,” Rodgers told reporters innocently enough. “I’ve heard a lot about the New York media and excited to see what that’s all about.”
This optimism may come as a surprise to those who watched the Packers quarterback battle the Wall Street Journal over COVID toe, blast a “horsesh*t” report from The Athletic, or attempt to defame Adam Schefter’s ability as an insider and assumed we were headed for a clash of the titans between Rodgers and New York’s sports media.
Maybe it’s their honeymoon period or maybe everyone is putting way too much stock in how hard-hitting New York’s sports media actually is. Earlier this year, Tiki Barber claimed Rodgers was too “sensitive” to handle the New York media. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe similarly warned Rodgers to proceed with caution when dealing with New York’s media.
Despite common misconceptions, the New York media didn’t press Rodgers on his vaccination status, they didn’t ask about his plant-based drug use or the decision to support Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attempting to usurp Joe Biden as the Democratic presidential candidate. Instead, Rodgers and the New York media got along just fine.
“Look forward to meeting you all and starting a relationship.” pic.twitter.com/ant0jJmwRU
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) April 26, 2023
“Whenever somebody comes here, they talk about, ‘Can he handle the New York media market.’ I’m curious what you think about moving to a big market like this,” Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic asked. “And the added attention, how you think you’ll be able to handle that.”
Oh boy. Here we go. This has to be where the fireworks begin between Rodgers and New York’s media. Surely, Rodgers is about to succumb to the pressure of New York.
“I’m excited about it, definitely heard a lot about the media,” Rodgers reiterated. “You guys have a job to do. You’re very good at it. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with you all, to get to know you guys. I’ve been in Green Bay for 18 years, that’s a long time in a small town and it’s been great. I grew up in a small town…you dream about living in a big city and having places to go eat and interesting things to do and obviously with the city being 40 minutes away, you got a lot of that stuff. I’m excited about the opportunity, look forward to meeting you all and starting a relationship.”
To assume Rodgers was able to handle the local media for the last 18 years, but will struggle now that he’s a Jet is not a compliment to New York, it’s a total insult to the beat reporters and sportswriters of Green Bay/Milwaukee who were more than capable of asking him a tough question. The key for Rodgers will be winning. If he wins, the media will love him. If he’s underperforming and losing, it might get contentious, but that’s the same with any star in most markets.
Just as Rodgers has a history of battling the national media, he also has a history of getting along with the local beat, and there’s no reason to assume that will drastically change in New York.