Did any readers happen to catch the player introductions for Sunday night’s Packers-Vikings game? When Aaron Rodgers came on the screen to name his school, he said, “Butte Community College.”
What’s this? Rodgers indeed played for Butte Community College for one year before going on to play for Berkeley, where the team had a winning record. And the rest is Packers history. Turns out he has done this before, but in light of the recent controversy over his refusal to take the COVID vaccine (during which he said quite sensibly that “science” that cannot be questioned isn’t science—it’s propaganda), I got to wondering if disavowing Berkeley as his college alma mater might be some kind of subtle political statement.
But wait—there’s more! When he appeared on the popular Payton-Eli Manning ESPN “Manningcast” show last night, he pointed to a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged on his bookshelf behind him. And this morning leftist Twitter is having a fit.
So I think I have my favorite team for the playoffs selected.
Bonus: If you’ve never seen the Key & Peele sketch on football player introductions, you owe it to yourself to set aside 3:30 to take in this bit of genius:
PAUL ADDS: It’s not uncommon these days for NFL players, during intros, to identify some school other than their college as their team of origin. I’d estimate that about 20 percent of players do this.
In some cases, it’s probably a shout-out to a school or coach based on loyalty. In other cases, it’s probably negative commentary about a college or its football program.
In Aaron Rodgers’ case, it’s reasonable to believe the commentary was about Cal-Berkeley and that it might well have a conservative political foundation.
The first NFL player I recall declining to identify a college during his intro was DeSean Jackson. Like Rodgers, he attended Cal-Berkeley. Whatever motivated Jackson not to identify that school, I doubt it was the same as Rodgers’ motivation.
JOHN wonders: Wasn’t Rodgers kidding? The exchange is a little hard to figure out from the short clip I have seen, but it sounds like the interviewer asked Rodgers what he was reading. Rodgers first mentioned “French poetry” and then waved at his bookshelf where he said he had Atlas Shrugged. To me, the exchange looked jocular. Rodgers certainly has not been reading French poetry, and it looked to me as though he just cited Atlas Shrugged as an example of a long book that is liked by many intellectuals. I don’t think he seriously meant to say that he had read it, let alone that he is a devotee of Ayn Rand.
That is how it looked to me, anyway.