First, The Score in Chicago Tuesday morning:
Longtime reporter and Associated Press MVP voter Hub Arkush started a firestorm by saying in a radio interview on Tuesday that he wouldn’t vote for Aaron Rodgers for reasons unrelated to his on-field performance. …
But Rodgers himself had plenty to say on the matter when asked what he thought of the comments to begin his Wednesday press conference.
“I think he’s a bum. I think he’s an absolute bum,” Rodgers said. “He doesn’t know me. I don’t know who he is. No one knew who he was, probably, until yesterday’s comments. And 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, that should exclude [him from] future votes.
“His problem isn’t with me being a ‘bad guy’ or ‘the biggest jerk in the league’ — because he doesn’t know me. He 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. 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. And I’m not going to waste any time worrying about that stuff. He has no idea who I am. He’s never talked to me in his life. But it’s unfortunate that those sentiments — it’s surprising that he would even say that, to be honest. But I knew this was possible. I talked about it on McAfee weeks ago. But…crazy.”
Rodgers did mention in one of his regular appearances on the Pat McAfee Show that he figured he’d be “canceled” for lying about his vaccination status. But the reality has been different, as the vast majority of criticism has been directed at Arkush after he shared why he disqualified Rodgers from his MVP vote.
Rodgers is the frontrunner to win his second consecutive AP MVP award and fourth overall. In 15 games, he’s completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,977 yards with 35 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He currently leads the league with a 111.1 passer rating.
Arkush was singing a slightly different tune Wednesday:
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.
I expect some clarity on exactly what I am apologizing for might be relevant and welcome.
There is no more respected bastion of journalism in the world than the Associated Press, and from where I sit there are few greater honors in my business than being chosen one of the 50 members of its panel that selects the NFL’s annual All Pro teams, MVPs, etc.
It has been my privilege to be a member of that team for some time now and Tuesday I violated a trust.
Our marching orders are to cast our votes as reasoned and thoughtfully as possible for those we believe to be the most deserving in our own considered judgment. All that is asked of us is not to discuss our votes publicly until after the awards have been announced.
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.
Worse yet, I’ve apparently unleashed a small army of self-styled social media and talk radio experts who have no clue what they’re talking about to challenge the quality of the voting process and would attempt to invalidate any vote or thought process that doesn’t agree with their own.
A sign of the times I guess.
To everyone in any way associated with the AP awards, you couldn’t possibly do the job any better or be more respected by anyone who actually cares more about getting it right than getting what they want
To any player or coach that’s ever won an AP honor, you couldn’t possibly be more deserving and don’t ever let anyone call that into question.
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.
Why or how this became a national news story I don’t understand, and while I would love to be able to explain what I meant to say and butchered so badly, any further conversation about my own vote now would just throw another log on the fire and cloud what matters at the moment
I was wrong, I own it and I couldn’t be more sorry
I’ll be happy to discuss my vote and my reasoning with whomever would like to after the awards have been announced.
For now please don’t tarnish anyone else with my mistake. Think of me as you will, but I hope my responsibility and regret are clear.
As always, the way to avoid having to apologize in public is not to have done something that required an apology in the first place. Note, though, that Arkush is apologizing primarily for causing his fellow AP voters problems and for possibly besmirching the AP’s NFL awards in some people’s eyes, not for his bad take about Rodgers’ being a “bad guy.”
Some readers might say that Arkush is entitled to his opinion. But Arkusb has more responsibility than someone sitting on his couch on social media while drinking beer to know what he’s talking about, since Arkush’s readers assume he knows what he’s talking about.
Wrong opinions are the result of bad information and/or a bad thought process. In a league that has employed domestic abusers, illegal drug users and, in two cases, murderers (see Carruth, Rae, and Hernandez, Aaron), what about Rodgers makes him a “bad guy” in Arkush’s opinion? Because he apparently disagrees with Arkush about the pan(dem)ic? (Rodgers’ teammates certainly have moved on from “immunized” vs. “vaccinated.”) Because he reportedly doesn’t get along with his family? Because of the media-generated sturm und drang that began this season over where Rodgers wanted to play? Nothing Rodgers has done, including being an independent thinker, warrants a “bad guy” label.
Bill Huber adds:
What’s funny is, other than probably postgame interviews for his duties writing about the Chicago Bears and national radio broadcasts for Westwood One, Arkush probably doesn’t know Rodgers at all. So how does Arkush believe Rodgers is a “bad guy” when his coaches and teammates say otherwise? Has he not listened to Davante Adams and others talk about Rodgers? Did he not see Lucas Patrick hoist Rodgers in the air after Rodgers broke Brett Favre’s touchdown record? Has he not talked to former Packers receiver James Jones, who is part of the same Packers pregame segment? Is he unaware of the millions of dollars he’s given for various charitable causes? …
For those who scoffed at Rodgers’ talk of “cancel culture” just because he doesn’t share the mainstream opinion, isn’t what what’s at play with Arkush? He doesn’t like Rodgers, for whatever reason, so is choosing to ignore the fact that Rodgers has led an injury-plagued team to the best record in the NFL while leading the way in passer rating, touchdown percentage and interception percentage?
The interesting side part is that Arkush has a segment on Packers’ radio pregame. (Arkush used to do color for Da Bears when Wayne Larrivee announced for Da Bears. I generally don’t listen to pregame shows, but this one might be wroth a listen, assuming the Packers don’t tell him to not work Sunday.
Arkush may be done with the Packers since WTMJ radio won’t be the Packers Radio Network flagship after this season, and Arkush committed the formerly cardinal sin of a reporter’s becoming the story.