Aaron Rodgers Supports LeBron, Urges Players To Simply Ignore Donald Trump
As he prepares for his 14th NFL season, Aaron Rodgers took some time to reflect on his 2017 campaign and everything that went on with the National Anthem.
The two-time NFL MVP took solace in the fact that, in the wake of attacks from President Donald Trump and others surrounding player protests timed to coincide with the playing of the national anthem, he and many of his NFL peers have become more united and galvanized in their efforts to fight for social justice.
“Last year was definitely a different year, and I think you’re finally seeing a lot of crossover with social media and the NFL,” Rodgers told NFL.com on Monday following the Packers’ training-camp practice.
“Obviously, the league is worried about its ratings and everything, but it seems that with the distribution from the TV (networks) that everybody’s doing pretty well. But it is interesting to see how moments like that can be the impetus for guys coming together and getting some perspective.”
The Green Bay Packers legend made it clear that he was standing with LeBron James, who was the target of an attack by President Donald Trump last Friday night, essentially calling him stupid after he watched his interview on CNN with Don Lemon about his I Promise school.
“He knows he has the support of his contemporaries,” Rodgers said of James, “in his own sport and in other sports.”
Like many other players around the country, Rodgers has been bombarded by people who are taking the protests during the Anthem and making it something that it’s not.
“Yeah, I’ve gotten a ton of that on my social media,” Rodgers said. “Not really in person, (though) I wouldn’t mind a conversation about that in person. I don’t shy away from that stuff. But definitely a lot online, and I don’t need to respond to that. I really don’t, because it’s giving credence to an opinion, and value to an opinion, that’s way off base — because they’ve missed the point of what this was all about.
“I don’t know how many times we can say, as a player and as a group, how much we love and support and appreciate the troops, and the opportunities this country allows us. But this is about equality and something bigger than ourselves, and bringing people together, and love and connectedness and equality and social justice, and putting a light on people who deserve to have the attention for their causes and their difficult situations that they’re in. You know, people have their opinion — you shouldn’t do it during the anthem, you shouldn’t do it during this — that’s fine. But let’s not take away from what the real issue is.”
On Monday, Rodgers had a video released that, among other things, applauded the efforts of several NFL players and what they were doing in their community.
“Well, you know, the good stuff doesn’t get the headlines,” Rodgers said. “Especially in the summertime, when there’s no football and the guys are out doing some great stuff — whether it’s free kids’ camps, or putting in time doing volunteer work at various spots, or raising awareness about their own foundations or things that are important to them … Those aren’t getting the attention.
“The attention, (some) want it to be on arrests, or altercations and stuff, which, when you compare it to the general population, our percentages are much lower. But we’re not held to the same standard, and they don’t want to highlight some of the great things that we’re doing. The league obviously does, but there are some folks who’d love to see football knocked off its top perch, and that’s why those stories are the ones being glorified.”
As far as Trump’s verbal assault towards athletes in different sports – Rodgers implores his peers to simply ignore the President.
“I think that the more that we give credence to stuff like that, the more it’s gonna live on,” he said. “I think if we can learn to ignore or not respond to stuff like that — if we can — it takes away the power of statements like that.”
Asked if he’d considered tweeting a response sticking up for his fellow superstar, Rodgers replied, “Actually, I texted with a friend and I said this: ‘LeBron needs no help. He has stood on his own two feet for years, and he has done some incredible things, and he needs no support. He knows he has the support of his contemporaries, in his own sport and in other sports, and he’s gonna be fine.’ “