“I feel bad for Johnny Manziel. I mean, he’s made some decisions … I just think, he’s a 20-year-old kid, and I wish he could just live like a 20-year-old.”
Though Rodgers didn’t give an opinion on whether it is wrong or right that Manziel allegedly took money for autographs or his opinions on the NCAA, he did speak about the general scrutiny that has followed Manziel over the past year.
“Ten years ago, when I was in college, nobody was following anyone around,” he said. “I could walk around campus [at Cal] and no one knew who I was. No Twitter. Facebook was just starting. I didn’t even know what my Berkeley.edu address was. I couldn’t get a Facebook page. So that’s how things have changed. I don’t do Instagram. I don’t want people to know where I am.”
Rodgers also revealed that he sympathized with Manziel from his own personal experiences as one of the NFL’s most recognized players. He touched on the scrutiny he faces just walking down the street.
“I love our game, but to me, there’s too much access,” he continued. “It’s way over the top. From the camera in the locker room, from the center being miked, to all the attention … Everybody’s watching. Everybody’s listening. And social media: If I’m out, more than likely, there’s going to be a camera on me, and a picture or video’s going to show up somewhere.”
Rodgers joined the ranks of NFL stars speaking out on the autograph saga. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson went on record that amateur athletes should be able to profit from their own name. And although Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant blasted the NCAA‘s handling of these type of situations, he said he didn’t want Manziel to get suspended but would be “mad” if Manziel wasn’t punished due to his own suspension at the end of his collegiate career.