Aaron Rodgers was businesslike in his virtual press conference following the Packers’ loss to the host Vikings over the weekend. Needless to say, much of the talk in the post-mortem focused on his injured left pinky toe, and not simply because it was aggravated by incidental contact in the first half of the close contest. He left early to have it treated, and whatever was done in the locker room must have helped tremendously; he was close to perfect in the final two quarters, going for touchdown passes in each of four drives covering at least 74 yards.
So good was Rodgers that the outcome of the set-to could well have been different were the timing more favorable; his last push knotted the score at 31 heading into the two-minute warning, with only a game-ending field goal by the Vikings clipping the rally short. In any case, he was prepared for inquiries from scribes on the state of his toe. In large measure, he anticipated the interest after he himself referred to it in an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show the pre-vious week as a “COVID injury.” And he was ready with his reply.
Interestingly, Rodgers moved to quash speculation borne of his statement uttered in a light-hearted moment by showing his left foot on camera. He went about proving that it did not suffer from the discoloration said to be a symptom of “COVID toes.” Why it would be significant for him to go through such lengths to disabuse fans of news he fueled is subject to debate. He even sought an apology from The Wall Street Journal for previously reporting on it, never mind that he made a mistake as to who crafted the article; he called out former The Athletic scribe Molly Knight and not actual writer Andrew Beaton.
That said, any information on Rodgers, and especially when it comes to the virus, will continue to be media fodder. And, bottom line, the reigning league Most Valuable Player need just look in the mirror to find who to blame. After all, he misled the public with his declaration that he is “immunized” from COVID-19 despite being unvaccinated. Is his intent to keep deliberately fudging the facts, if for no other reason than to give all and sundry the finger? Who knows? Meanwhile, there’s no question on his impact on the field, COVID toes or no.
ANTHONY L. CUAYCONG has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and Human Resources management, corporate communications, and business development