Packers news: Aaron Rodgers envies NBA culture because it allows players to speak more freely
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a unique position in the NFL as one of the most visible faces under a helmet every Sunday, but being one of the elite-caliber gunslingers doesn’t exactly net him the powers an NBA star has in this day and age.
The 33-year-old is coming off another dominant season in the gridiron, but despite all of his success, he is envious of the NBA’s culture, which has enabled athletes to speak more freely about social and racial issues.
“The guys who are most vocal in the NBA are the best players,” Rodgers told Mina Kimes of ESPN The Magazine.
While Rodgers clearly falls in the category of one of the league’s best players, this freedom isn’t remotely the same. Rodgers said he believes he can say what he wants, but it would need to feel “authentic” to him.
He mentioned his interest in taking a role in the NFL players’ union, using his unique position to bring leverage and strengthen their cause.
Asked why the NFL is more restrictive than the NBA, Rodgers summed it up very simply, pointing out the lack of fully-guaranteed contracts.
“[In the NFL], if you’re on the street, you’re not getting paid unless you have some sort of bonus that goes into another year,” said Rodgers. “So there’s less incentive to keep a guy, which gives you less job security. Less job security means you’ve got to play the game within the game a little tighter to the vest.”
“Part of it has a really great nature to it — being a good teammate, being a professional — the other part is not being a distraction. And I use ‘distraction’ as more of a league term.”
The most popular case was Colin Kaepernick, who spoke out on his beliefs and after demonstratively sticking to his cause, no finding himself out of a job. To put it simply — if an NFL player is ready to speak out, he must also be ready to put his career in jeopardy.
“I think he should be on a roster right now,” Rodgers said of Kaepernick. “I think because of his protests, he’s not.”