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Aaron Rodgers Blames Media and ‘Fear Porn’ For Dislike Toward Him

“I do have empathy for those people who are caught in this fear state around COVID that continues to be pushed and furthered by media.”

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The Pat McAfee Show

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has some thinking to do following his team’s early NFL postseason exit this past weekend. Does he retire, does he give it one more season in Green Bay? Or does he follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps and close the book on the team that drafted him and made him the quarterback he is today and play in another city?

Rodgers talked about answering those questions as part of what appeared to be his final interview of the season on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday. But, of course, what a lot of people tuned in for was to hear Rodgers’ response to the reaction of social media and sports media following the loss.

He spent plenty of time in the spotlight for various COVID-related reasons, and for that, many referred to him as “Throw Rogan,” “QAaron,” and “Covidiot.” Add to that the celebrations for the San Francisco 49ers going into Lambeau Field on a cold winter’s night and upsetting the top seed in the NFC.

“You knew this was in the mix,” Rodgers said. “There were a ton of people tuning in, rooting against us for one reason and one reason only. It’s because of my vaccination status, and them wanting to see us lose so they could pile on and enjoy and revel in the fact that my vaccination status was some sort of reason why we haven’t had success in the playoffs.”

He added that he knew he’d eventually have to say something about whether or not he was vaccinated and alluded to the fact that he would catch heat for not getting the shot. Still, Rodgers said a lot of the negativity surrounding the vaccine and his status is rooted in fear and that the media is a factor in that fear running rampant.

“There’s so much fear around this,” he said. “There’s fear of your health, fear of the loss of money, there’s fear of not being able to provide for your family, there’s fear of death for sure, fear of sickness, and the media plays a big role in that. The fear porn that is put out day after day I think causes a lot of strife and stress for people.

“I think because I don’t watch the news, or don’t subscribe to the same type of mainstream narrative at times, and have decided to take my own personal health and responsibility for my health in my hands, and did my research, and looked into things, and also my associations with other people who have done similar things, there’s anger kind of thrown my way,” he added. “But the root of that, I think, is fear. So I do have empathy for those people who are caught in this fear state around COVID that continues to be pushed and furthered by media and by some of the narratives that are out there. I do have empathy for that.”

As for the social media detractors, Rodgers said he’s tuned all of that stuff out. But in retrospect, Rodgers acknowledged the things he’s said publicly did drive a wedge between people when ultimately that’s not what the goal was.

“I know what I’ve never wanted to be is a divisive or polarizing figure on this,” he said. “I’ve wanted to encourage people and inspire people to think for themselves to take their health in their own hands. To realize that this is a pandemic of health, not the unvaccinated, a pandemic of health… to make healthier decisions and to think about what they’re eating and what they’re putting in their bodies.

“That their health is their own responsibility as much as mine is my own responsibility. And hopefully I’ve inspired people… But I hope people continue to turn off the fear and do their own research and take care of themselves and their own health. And hopefully we can move past a lot of this and actually connect instead of continue to divide.”

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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