Although he attended California, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has become something of a celebrity fan of the Wisconsin basketball team. During the Badgers’ Final Four run this year, Rodgers has been seen in the stands with girlfriend Olivia Munn – and, more importantly, ESPN’s Andy North – cheering on Wisconsin. Rodgers has friends on the team and is obviously the most famous professional athlete in the state, so it’s cool to see him support Wisconsin, right?
Well, not so fast. There’s at least one sportswriter who has taken issue with Rodgers’ presence – Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. And more specifically, Dodd did not appreciate Rodgers getting on-court access that Dodd wasn’t allowed to have after Wisconsin’s win over Arizona. He was also upset that Rodgers denied an interview request.
“Aaron Rodgers in one of the biggest moments in the state's history -ignoring how media has shaped his image – 'I'm not doing interviews,'” Dodd wrote on Twitter.
“Dear Wisco fan: If it was about the Badgers, then why was A. Rodgers on court? Credentialed media only. Here's the equivalent of what A Rodgers did today. I crash his wedding to Olivia because I'm a big 'fan.'
“Media had to stay outside three point line (really) while Badgers cut nets. A. Rodgers allowed unrestrained access to court. Fair? Still wondering what difference is between two uncredentialed fans on court. One dates an actress and is good at sports. Other isn't.
“I can guarantee you this will be taken up by NCAA and USBWAA. A Rodgers shouldn't be in a position for us to be blown off. Where do we draw the line? USC can't have celebs on sideline anymore after sanctions. But feel-good A Rodgers can be on court with Badgers?”
To some extent, one can understand Dodd’s complaints. It’s not fair that Aaron Rodgers gets special treatment that the Badgers fan who works at the Madison or a media member doesn’t get, but unfortunately that isn’t the way the world works. After all, he’s Aaron Rodgers. There’s some privileges that go along with being the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. But one can also understand why media access is restricted. It’s nice to see the team cut down the nets and enjoy the moment without reporters trying to knock them off a ladder.
Apparently, Rodgers got wind of Dodd’s mini Twitter rant. As the QB explained in a volley back at Dodd, he had a pass to be there on the court. He also threw in the hashtags “quit crying” and “you’re a joke” for good measure.
“To the biggest twitter crybaby of the night, I had a pass to be on the court. Send your complaints to the A.D. #quitcrying #youreajoke,” Rodgers wrote in response. “Also with interview requests, sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes it's no. I'm not there for u, I'm there to support my friends n UW.”
Rodgers is perfectly within reason to turn down an interview request. He was there as a fan of the team, so it’s his prerogative whether he wants to agree to answer questions or not. It’s not like he’s playing the role of Marshawn Lynch during a Super Bowl press conference or anything. Rodgers is also perfectly within reason to be on the court if approved by the Wisconsin athletic department. While Dodd and other sportswriters may not like it, their complaints aren’t really with Rodgers here because he didn’t do anything wrong. In the end, it’s one of the sillier NCAA Tournament controversies, is it not?