- Hub Arkush slammed Aaron Rodgers over vaccine controversy, called him “the biggest jerk in the league.”
- Rodgers responded on Wednesday, calling Arkush “an absolute bum.”
- Rodgers is currently the betting favorite to be named MVP, but the writers will decide.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is once again the betting favorite to win NFL MVP.
If the odds prove correct, it will be the fourth time Rodgers wins the award in his career, putting him in sole possession of second place in all-time honors, trailing only Peyton Manning, who won the award five times.
But while the oddsmakers currently see Rodgers as the most likely to win the award, one of the 50 voters has already made it pretty clear that he does not intend on giving the Packers quarterback his vote.
Hub Arkush, a sportswriter out of Chicago and one of the 50 media members given a vote on the award by the Associated Press, criticized Rodgers while speaking with 670 The Score in Chicago.
“I don’t think you can be the biggest jerk in the league and punish your team, and your organization and your fan base the way he did and be the Most Valuable Player,” Arkush said. “Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument, but I don’t think he is clearly that much more valuable than Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp or maybe even Tom Brady.
“So from where I sit, the rest of it is why he’s not gonna be my choice. Do I think he’s gonna win it? Probably. A lot of voters don’t approach it the same way I do, but others do, who I’ve spoken to. But one of the ways we get to keep being voters is we’re not allowed to say who we are voting for until after the award has been announced. I’m probably pushing the envelope by saying who I’m not voting for. But we’re not really supposed to reveal our votes.”
—Rich Ohrnberger (@ohrnberger) January 5, 2022
Arkush is far from the only person to take issue with how Rodgers handled his COVID-19 vaccination status. At the start of the season, Rodgers had played himself off as vaccinated, telling reporters during training camp that he had “been immunized.”
When Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19, it was revealed that he had never been vaccinated, leaving Rodgers on the bench for a critical game against the Kansas City Chiefs and prompting Rodgers to rail against “cancel culture.”
Arkush went on to note that he didn’t believe that the guidance from the AP restricted him from considering off-field aspects of a player in making his vote.
“There’s no guidelines,” Arkush said. “We are told to pick the guy who we think is most valuable to his team. And I don’t think it says anywhere, ‘strictly on the field,’ although I do think he hurt his team on the field by the way he acted off the field. They’re gonna get the No. 1 seed anyway, but what if the difference had come down to the Chiefs game, where he lied about being vaccinated, and they ended up getting beat?”
Arkush’s comments brought plenty of criticism on their own, prompting him to later call his decision to disclose his thinking a “big mistake.”
But Arkush’s minor walk-back didn’t stop Rodgers from criticizing him in response, addressing Arkush’s criticism while meeting with reporters on Wednesday.
“I think he’s a bum,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s an absolute bum. He doesn’t know me. I don’t know who he is. No one knew who he was probably until yesterday’s comments.”
Rodgers added that he believed Arkush should be excluded from being able to vote on the award in the future.
“His problem is I’m not vaccinated,” Rodgers said. “So if he wants to go on a crusade and collude and come up with an extra letter to put on the award for just this season, and make it the ‘Most Valuable Vaccinated Player,’ then he should do that. But he’s a bum, and I’m not going to waste any time worrying about that stuff.”
—Stephen Watson (@WISN_Watson) January 5, 2022
While Rodgers was clearly displeased with Arkush’s comments, he has been rather open about the fact that his potential to win the MVP race this year was likely to be affected by his vaccination kerfuffle.
Back in November, just as the drama surrounding his vaccination status was unfolding, Rodgers joked during his appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” that winning the award again was likely not in the cards.
—Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 5, 2022
At the time, Rodgers was well behind a few other players in the MVP race according to oddsmakers. After a hot second half of the season, Rodgers became the betting favorite, but even then was hesitant to declare victory.
On Tuesday, Rodgers was again speaking with McAfee, who joked that Rodgers was about to win his second straight MVP award.
“Let’s not put the cart before the horse, or whatever the saying is,” Rodgers said in response. “Last year there was some other things going on. Some certain statuses that might come into play [this year].”
The MVP award will ultimately be decided by 50 voters casting their votes at the end of the season. We already know the thinking of one of them, and there’s a good chance Arkush is not alone in his criticism, as even Rodgers acknowledged that winning over voters after the fallout surrounding the disclosure of his unvaccinated status might not be possible.
Regardless of the chatter, Rodgers is having a fantastic year on the field, leading the Packers to a 13-3 record and securing homefield advantage throughout the postseason as the top seed in the NFC.
Even if Rodgers isn’t ultimately named MVP, he would undoubtedly be happier lifting the Lombardi Trophy anyway.