Jan 18, 2011, 1:33 PM EDT
And the award for most unlikely controversy in the NFL so far this year: Aaron Rodgers vs. Cancer Patient. You most likely know the story by now. Rodgers is taking heat in some corners for allegedly snubbing a Packers fan at the airport who wanted her hat signed. That fan is Jan Cavanaugh, a cancer patient who had just had a round of chemotherapy before trekking to the airport to get some autographs. In the video below, you see Rodgers, wearing headphones, walking past Cavanaugh and not acknowledging her.
Was he really snubbing her? Rodgers appeared on The Dan Patrick Show this morning to say that it was a case of him not correctly reading the defense.
“Well Jan is a great fan and we have an incredible fan base that travels well and would like to thank all the fans that showed up in Atlanta,” Rodgers said. “We had a ton of fans at the airport and a ton of fans that came back. I’ve met Jan on previous occasions, I’ve signed for her, and as the video shows on this trip I didn’t see her and I didn’t sign for her.
“This kinda has turned into something I didn’t really expect but I think the people of Green Bay know how I feel about them and how much I appreciate their support. This turned into something I didn’t really expect.”
Of course. One never expects, The Spanish Inquisition!
Look, I’ve dealt with Aaron Rodgers on several occasions, and I have to say that you’re not going to find a more accessible, stand-up guy. Many probably don’t remember that when the second round of Brett Favre trade rumors started flying with the Packers, in 2007, Rodgers was in the middle of it all, getting hung out to dry by the team while Brett took his sweet time making up his mind. Brett’s timing was exquisite; he announced that he was coming back the day before Rodgers was scheduled to begin play in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Stateline, Nev.
Knowing that the press was going to eat him alive with Favre questions — how does it feel to be a backup, again, after being promised the starting job? — Rodgers showed up anyway, toed the line and acted like a complete gentleman. I’ve never forgotten his grace under pressure that week.
And apparently, Jan Cavanaugh would tend to agree. From WBAY:
Aaron Rodgers and other players didn’t autograph her cap as she saw them off to Atlanta — but it’s not the hat she’s upset about, it’s the Internet and radio chatter created by the video of Rodgers passing her by.
“I was terribly upset this morning because I did not realize what was online, and opened up my email,” [Cavanaugh] said, “and I was just shocked.”
The video has drawn criticism but the only people Jan is critical of today are those creating the chatter.
“I am very unhappy with people making so much out of this, because this really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s up to the players to decide who they want to give an autograph to, and that’s their prerogative.”
Of course it’s now come to light that Rodgers has signed several items for Cavanaugh in the past. With so many legitimate questions out there concerning the character of certain NFL quarterbacks, it’s a shame that this typhoon-in-a-teapot needs to be so blown out of proportion.
Packers Fan with Cancer Shocked by Criticism of Aaron Rodgers [WBAY]
Brett Favre Who? Aaron Rodgers Is All The Rage In Green Bay [Sports Radio Interviews]
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