Report: Rodgers got last laugh on professor
Professional athletes often are fueled by naysayers and doubters. They use perceived slights as motivation to work and train harder.
Few athletes are more well-known for making use of such motivation than Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
From his lack of college scholarship offers out of high school to his falling all the way to the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL draft, the reigning NFL MVP has turned his failures into successes. There are lesser-known slights, however, and he shared one of them this week on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show.
Rodgers was a terrific student. He cared about his grades and was second-team Academic All-Pac-10 at the University of California-Berkeley. So, he rarely got an 'F' on his report card. According to what he told ESPN Milwaukee, his first one since fourth grade set him off.
An American Studies major at Cal, Rodgers took a food appreciation class with 10 other football players in a class of 200.
There were smaller breakout classes for the course, where test grades and homework were given.
"Long story short, we wrote this paper, and for whatever reason they didn't like the way we cited stuff, so everybody in my breakout class got an 'F' on the paper," Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee. "We all got to re-write it, or so I thought. But when I went to rewrite it and turn it back in, I still had an 'F'.
"I wasn't able to rewrite it, wouldn't accept it. So I asked my breakout group teacher, 'How come I wasn't able to rewrite it?' She couldn't give me an answer."
The teacher's office hours just so happened to be at the same time the Golden Bears started football practice. Rodgers got excused from practice and went to meet with the teacher.
"I went in there, and she was ready for me," Rodgers said. "She ripped me apart and said, 'Athletes always want stuff given to them.' I wasn't going to be able to rewrite my paper, and on and on. It was a tirade that she went on about athletes and entitlement and whatnot.
"She basically picked on the wrong person in class because I was probably the best student out of the 11 football players in there."
The teacher didn't stop there, only fueling Rodgers.
"She's looking at me condescending and talking down to me," Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee. "She says 'What do you want to do with yourself?' I said 'I want to play in the NFL.' She laughed. She laughed at me.
"It wasn't a funny laugh; it was a condescending laugh, and (she) said, 'You'll never make it. You'll get hurt, you'll need your education, and you are not going to make it through school here.' I said 'OK, I don't agree with any of that.' "
And what would the NFL MVP tell that teacher now?
"I just want to tell that teacher right now, today, thank you," Rodgers said. "For adding to that chip on my shoulder and I hope that you are a fan."