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You heard that right.  Aaron Rodgers played the Martin Luther King Jr. card.

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You heard that right. Aaron Rodgers played the Martin Luther King Jr. card.

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers warms up on Oct. 28 in Glendale, Ariz. (Darryl Webb / Associated Press)

Of all the surprises that unfolded over the past week, watching Aaron Rodgers use the words of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to try to justify his nonsense was the least expected.

The introspective quarterback has long been admired for his willingness to voice opinions that challenge the NFL’s version of conservative corporatism, which selects King’s words while enjoying the momentum that drove his work. Case in point: When then-Saints quarterback Drew Brees turned a question about players protesting racial injustice into a flag talk, Rodgers responded quickly via social media.

“It was NEVER about an anthem or a flag,” he wrote in an Instagram post which included a photo of himself hugging his teammates before a game with “#wakeupamerica” .

Needless to say, this post was a hit with progressives.

So, yeah, after being unmasked as playing unvaccinated, watching this guy spend 45 minutes on “The Pat McAfee Show” spitting out slogans like “The Crowd Wake Up Crosshair” and “My Last Nail is Put in My Cancellation Crop Coffin” as if he was a MAGA Pez Distributor was a little shocking. But that’s not what struck me the most.

It was Rodgers bringing up King as he tried to explain why he had misled the public about his vaccine status which was so revealing.

Before talking about some of the league’s COVID protocols he considers insane, Rodgers quoted: “The great MLK said,” You have a moral obligation to stand up against unfair rules and rules that made no sense. . “”

There are inconsistencies with the NFL’s approach – without a doubt. But then again, the NFL is still trying to figure out what a catch is, so awkward protocol policy is expected.

The catch is, the Green Bay Packers quarterback presented his King paraphrase as if he was on the front line challenging an unfair law, when in reality he was just sitting on the couch trying to find ways to avoid being held responsible for his words.

Again.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Rodgers, or anyone for that matter, can’t quote King. But contexts matter.

In August, when asked if he was vaccinated against COVID-19, Rodgers replied, “Yes, I have been immunized. It was only after testing positive for the virus earlier this week that the public learned that “immune” meant Rodgers was taking Joe Rogan’s medical advice and not one of the vaccines. He claims he didn’t lie and instead blamed the media for the confusion.

“If there had been a follow-up to my statement that I had been immunized, I would have responded with this: I would have said, ‘Look, I’m not some kind of anti-vax, flat- Earth. I am someone who is a critical thinker. ‘”

It’s the equivalent of catching your boyfriend cheating on you and saying, “If you had followed up on my statement, I would have said, ‘I’m not sleeping with someone else … but me a m having sex with other people.

Rodgers even said he planned to give the answer ‘immune’ because ‘meanwhile it was a witch hunt going on throughout the league where everyone in the media was so concerned about who was. vaccinated and who wasn’t and what that meant and who was selfish and who would talk about it, what it meant if they said it’s a personal decision and they shouldn’t have to disclose their own medical information .

He didn’t want that smoke, and listen, I get it. We all understand.

There was – and remains – a media frenzy around unvaccinated players.

The point is, Rodgers deliberately gave a misleading answer because he didn’t want follow-up questions. He tried to be clever, and when the jig was lifted, played the king’s card as a grassroots member of the conservative corporate club that we thought he wanted nothing to do with. This is, of all that has happened regarding Rodgers this week, what I have found most disappointing.

For better or worse, we’re used to seeing people take King’s words out of context to clean up despicable decisions and policies. President Reagan sadly cited the civil rights icon while fighting affirmative action, saying, “We want a color blind society. A society which, in Dr King’s words, judges people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. It was fun watching Reagan and his kind quote from a passage from “I Have a Dream,” but never any of the points where King spoke in favor of reparations or affirmative action.

It was as if they were choosing all of his words to serve themselves, not to honor him. Regardless of politics, I didn’t think Rodgers would do something like this. Now I know better.

@LZGranderson

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.


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