Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"The Real Victim Here is Aaron Rodgers"

How the media can make baseball's biggest story about a football star

By Evan Rytlewski
aaron rodgers
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It's no secret that baseball takes a distant backseat to football as America's sport of choice, and that's especially true here in Wisconsin, where the Packers' off-season vacation plans make bigger headlines than the Brewers even during the height of the baseball season. It was only a matter of time, then, until the biggest story in baseball—the suspension of Brewers star Ryan Braun—was spun into a Packers interest piece about the real victim of Braun's systematic history of lying, cheating and making a mockery of baseball and its fans: America's sweetheart, Aaron Rodgers.

Yes, the Packers quarterback, as you've almost certainly heard if you have a television set or a Facebook wall, defended his friend and business partner Braun when the PED allegations were first reported last year, and even wagered a year's salary on Braun's innocence, in a tweet that he definitely intended to be a legally binding contract. So now the football blogosphere is waiting with baited breath for Rodgers to eat crow. Or to point fingers. Or to do or say anything, really. A less-than-gripping update from the National Football Post this morning is headlined "No Reaction Yet From Aaron Rodgers on Braun Suspension."

The news of Braun's suspension was hardly two hours old yesterday when the conversation turned to Rodgers. One caller to Jeff Falconio's evening drive show on 620 WTMJ prefaced his remarks by saying "I'm not a Braun fan or a Brewers fan"—because God forbid—then detailed his disgust over how Braun stood silent while Rodgers vouched for him. Never mind how Braun lied to his teammates, the league and thousands of fans; he misled David Gruber's friend. The man is truly a monster.

Similar sentiments proliferated on Twitter and, sigh, on NBC Sports, where professional shit-stirrer Mike Florio spilled some hot copy.

"Rodgers, who has a reputation for being a bit on the sensitive side, could react angrily to the fact that he went to bat (no pun intended) for a guy who told him something other than the truth," Florio speculated. "If he does, however, Rodgers will be criticized by some for being disloyal. But not by us. Braun took advantage of his friendship with Rodgers, and Rodgers ended up looking bad for it. He has every right to end the friendship, and to call Braun out."

So it's official, then. Ryan Braun will go down in infamy as the man who left fingerprint smudges on Aaron Rodgers' impeccable reputation, and pundits are now in the business of dictating how friendships work.
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