Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has lashed out at MVP voter Hub Arkush who publicly criticized him and branded him a ‘jerk’ for missing a game after his ‘misleading’ claims of being ‘immunized’ against Covid-19.
Rodgers, 38, says Chicago journalist Arkush – who holds an MVP vote – is ‘a bum’ who is targeting him because he remains unvaccinated.
Rodgers is favored to win a second consecutive MVP award – but Arkush, executive editor of Pro Football Weekly, is not voting for him because the QB is ‘punishing his team, his organization and the fans’ with his actions.
In August Rodgers cryptically claimed he was ‘immunized’ leading many fans to assume he had received his Covid vaccinations, yet neglected to explain that he hadn’t received a vaccine and was actually referring to a doctor-prescribed therapeutic treatment.
Then, in November, Rodgers missed game action for the Packers after returning a positive Covid test, with the team losing 13-7 to Kansas City Chief without their starting quarterback. This led head coach Matt LeFleur to decline to comment on the superstar’s vaccination status.
Arkush’s condemnation has provoked Rodgers into a public response, even though he has never met the Chicago sports broadcaster nor knew about him until his comments were aired.
Making his response to NFL reporter Dov Kleiman, Rodgers said: ‘I think he’s a bum. I think he’s an absolute bum.
Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers hit back at MVP voter Hub Arkush (right) who branded him a ‘jerk who was punishing his team-mates and fans after not taking Covid-19 vaccinations
‘He doesn’t know me. I don’t know who he is, nobody knew who he was probably until yesterday’s comments.
‘I listened to the comments, but to say he had his mind made up in the summertime, in the offseason, that I had zero chance of winning MVP … In my opinion should exclude, you know, future votes.
‘You know, his problem isn’t with me being a bad guy or the biggest jerk in the league. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know me, doesn’t know anything about me.
‘I’ve never met him, I’ve never had lunch with him, I’ve never had an interview with him. His problem is I’m not vaccinated.’
Rodgers (right), seen wearing a mask during travel with his team, feels the latest criticisms are unfair and the MVP award should be specified to vaccinated players only
Arkush had stirred the pot with his remarks, which have reverberated around the sport and widely divided opinion – though later produced a comprehensive online apology following the media storm which follow.
In his full explanation for where his MVP vote would be going, Arkush had said of Rodgers: ‘I don’t think you can be the biggest jerk in the league and punish your team, and your organization and your fan base the way he did and be the Most Valuable Player.
‘Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument, but I don’t think he is clearly that much more valuable than Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp or maybe even Tom Brady. So, from where I sit, the rest of it is why he’s not gonna be my choice.
‘There’s no guidelines,’ Arkush added.
‘We are told to pick the guy who we think is most valuable to his team. And I don’t think it says anywhere, ‘strictly on the field,’ although I do think he hurt his team on the field by the way he acted off the field.
‘They’re gonna get the No. 1 seed anyway, but what if the difference had come down to the Chiefs game, where he lied about being vaccinated, ended up not playing and they got beat? I think all these things should be considerations.’
Chicago reporter Hub Arkash (right) pulled no punches when branding Rodgers ‘a jerk’ and said he would not be voting for him as the league’s MVP
He went on to finish by noting that Rodgers’ unvaccinated status is simply ‘one more log on the fire.’
The Packers star is looking to draw a line under the row, but was quick to outline that an extra element should be added to the MVP award, if individuals are going to make the political element of vaccination status an influencing factor.
Rodgers added: ‘So if he wants to go on a crusade, and collude, and come up with an extra letter to put on the award just for this season, and make it the most valuable vaccinated player, then he should do that.
‘But he’s a bum.’
Rodgers is the odds-on favorite to be the 2021 NFL MVP, which would be his second in a row and the fourth of his career.
If selected as the victorious recipient, Rodgers would be the first repeat winner of the award since the iconic Peyton Manning did it in 2008 and 2009.
In December Rodgers had doubled down on his skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines and labeled the drive to get the public jabbed as ‘propaganda.’
ARKUSH’S PUBLIC APOLOGY
‘So in case you haven’t heard, I’ve spent the better part of the last 24 hours making a pretty nasty mess.
Actually, and much to my surprise, that may be the understatement of the year. There is absolutely nothing clever or remotely entertaining about it.
I made a terrible mistake. It was completely my fault. There is no one else to blame, and I am here to try and apologize.
I own this and I couldn’t be more sorry.
On Tuesday, at 670 The Score in Chicago, where I am regularly employed as an analyst and host, for reasons that I am still trying to come to grips with but were completely my responsibility, I allowed myself to be walked into a conversation about an MVP candidate I knew I would not be voting for.
I said some things that while not unreasonable in the context they were said, I voiced them in totally inappropriate ways.
I couldn’t possibly be more sorry for joining the conversation at all and some of the childish things I said about Aaron Rodgers.
Most of the other 49 AP voters are acquaintances, many are friends, and the reason we are asked not to do what I did is it now puts undo pressure on some of them to comment, not comment, agree, disagree or take grief for doing the right thing and remaining silent.
To Aaron Rodgers, you are one of the greatest players of this generation and one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Whether or not you are this year’s MVP is up to the 50-member panel, neither me, nor my critics.
I couldn’t possibly be more sorry for dragging all of you into my mess and I hope you will accept my apology.’
Arkush’s full posting can be read here.
Last month Rodgers (right) doubled down on his skepticism of the COVID-19 vaccine. ‘If science can’t be questioned, it’s not science anymore,’ he said during his weekly virtual appearance on Pat McAfee’s SirusXM show
‘If science can’t be questioned, it’s not science anymore,’ Rodgers said during his weekly virtual appearance on Pat McAfee’s SirusXM show. ‘It’s propaganda. That’s the truth.’
Rodgers, who had recovered from a bout with COVID-19 in November, has since been slammed by numerous critics for misleading the public about his vaccination status before the season.
When asked by reporters at August’s training camp if he’d received the COVID-19 injection, Rodgers described himself as ‘immunized,’ but at the time neglected to explain that he hadn’t received a vaccine and was actually referring to a doctor-prescribed therapeutic treatment.
Rodgers’s vaccination status was later revealed in early November when he tested positive for coronavirus and was subsequently required to quarantine for 10 days — the minimum amount of time an unvaccinated player is asked to quarantine, per league rules at the time (the NFL later cut the quarantine time down to five days, per CDC guidance).
The 38-year-old recovered from a bout of Covid in November and has not indicated that he will be receiving the vaccinations or boosters in future
After initially blaming the media and the ‘woke mob’ for the misunderstanding, Rodgers told McAfee on November 9 that he wanted to apologize ‘to anybody who felt misled.’
He also said he combatted his COVID-19 infection with recommendations from podcaster and friend, Joe Rogan.
Specifically, Rodgers said he took monoclonal antibodies and Ivermectin — a drug used to work animals in its veterinary form that is unproven to treat COVID-19.
The FDA has not approved the drug for use in preventing or treating coronavirus in humans and has warned patients against ingesting veterinary Ivermectin.